ND now reporting 30 COVID-19 cases; four hospitalized | Prairie Public Broadcasting

ND now reporting 30 COVID-19 cases; four hospitalized

Mar 23, 2020

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is now reporting 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Two were confirmed Sunday – a woman in her 30s in Burleigh County, and a man in his 40s in Pierce County. Of the 30 people with the virus, four are hospitalized.

Cass County – North Dakota’s most populous – has only reported one case so far. Gov. Doug Burgum told reporters one reason may be Sanford Fargo was sending their tests to national laboratories, including Quest Labs.

"Quest, like other national providers, was overwhelmed," Burgum said. "The turn-around time was initially supposed to be three days, but now they've extended it to seven days."

Burgum said there are 300 test samples collected in Cass County that were sent nationally. He said those results are pending.

Burgum said Sanford will now send its tests to the state Lab in Bismarck.

K-12 schools face deadline for online instruction plans

Burgum has signed an executive order that gives K-12 school districts until this Friday, March 27th, to submit plans for resuming school via distance learning.

The districts have until April first to have the plan approved.

Burgum said since he ordered schools to close, the school year is being reduced by 12 days – but local districts will still get their state payments.

"This pandemic can disrupt our lives," Burgum said. "But we have a responsibility to our students and taxpayers, to provide an education that prepares them to succeed."

Burgum said it prepares adults to figure out a way to deliver education during these "challenging and unusual times."

Burgum said if school districts do not have an approved plan by April first, they will have their state aid payments delayed, and will have to consider extending the school year until June.

Colleges to provide only on-line classes for the remainder of the semester

North Dakota’s colleges and universities will be offering only on-line instruction for the remainder of the semester, due to the COVID-19 virus.

And Burgum had a message for those college students returing from spring break travel.

"If you're coming back from an area considered to be a 'hot zone,' we're asking you to either self-quarantine, if you think you have been exposed, or go to 'Report' on ndhealth.gov," Burgum said. "There's a travel site there, and you can indicate where you've traveled to, and get instructions on what you should do."

Burgum said even if you’re in your teens and 20s, and show no symptoms, you could be a carrier.