Burgum: new Red River Valley COVID-19 task force; graduation ceremony guidelines | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Burgum: new Red River Valley COVID-19 task force; graduation ceremony guidelines

May 7, 2020

A new Red River Valley COVID 19 task force has been formed to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in the Fargo area.

Governor Burgum announced the task force at his Wednesday briefing.

Cass County has by far the largest number of positive COVID 19 cases in the state. Wednesday, the state Health Department reported six deaths in Cass County.

Burgum told reporters the task force will be working on prevention and mitigation in Cass County and the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. And that includes ramping up testing.

"We do have rapid reponse teams headed out to the Fargo metro area, to long-term care facilities, whether it's testing supplies, deep cleaning, and to try and confirm COVID positives," Burgum said.

Burgum said daily testing will be done at the Family Health Care center in downtown Fargo.

Fargo mayor Tim Mahoney via video from Fargo.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said increased testing will be a key.

"We're actively seekig to identify them, and further enhance our contact tracing efforts, to engage in a deep dive into the scientific factors leading to this virus," Mahoney said. "Continuing testing with a surgical, targeted approach will be invaluable to our efforts to mitigate spread."

Mahoney said he talked with Moorhead’s Mayor – and Clay County is on board.

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Graduation guidance

Governor Burgum is allowing local school districts to hold graduation ceremonies in school buildings.

But there are some limitations, such as proper social distancing, cleaning and other safety precautions.

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler told reporters it will be up to the local school districts how to accomplish this.

In the guidance issued by DPI, there are seven examples of how graduations can be held.

"They include a virtual graduation ceremony, a live-stream graduation ceremony, drive-in graduation, a graduation parade, outdoor field graduation ceremonies, conducting multiple ceremonies with smaller poritions of the graduating class,  and the highest risk -- graduation at larger arenas or auditoriums," Baesler said.

The schools closed March 15th because of the coronavirus. Instruction is being done on-line.