Governor Burgum issues state of emergency declaration on coronavirus | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Governor Burgum issues state of emergency declaration on coronavirus

Mar 14, 2020

Gov. Burgum (at podium); Health Officer Mylynn Tufte and Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann.
Credit Dave Thompson

Gov. Doug Burgum has declared a “State of Emergency” in North Dakota because of the COVID-19 virus.

"But I want to make sure that everyone who hears the words 'state of emergency' — that might provoke a certain image in in your mind," Burgum told Bismarck reporters. "But because North Dakota is so well-prepared, we'd like to actually declare a 'state of calm.'"

Burgum said that’s because North Dakota has had only one confirmed case of the virus. A Minot man contracted the virus while on a West Coast trip. He's at home recovering, and was not hospitalized.

So far, 46 tests have come back negative, and 16 test results are pending.

As far as school closures, Burgum said the plan is that schools will remain open.

"This may come across as contrary to the recent wave of closures we have seen in other states," Burgum said. "But we will make decisions based on facts, not on fear."

Burgum said that's because it appears COVID-19 is targeting older people, with underlying medical issues.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association has now canceled all sporting events and fine arts performances for the spring semester.