A third person has passed away due to complications of COVID-19 in North Dakota.
This morning the state health department reported that a woman in her 80s from McHenry County had died of the virus. This afternoon, they confirmed a man in his 70s from Morton County also succumbed COVID-19. Both patients had underlying health conditions, and both acquired the virus through community spread.
Governor Doug Burgum says this news reinforces the severity of the virus and how lethal it can be for the state's vulnerable populations. "This coronavirus is particularly lethal for people that are older or who have underlying health conditions, and could be up to 15 times deadlier for people that would be in those categories and have those underlying conditions versus the flu, and the flu is something we have to be worried about every year. But this is something that is more serious."
Burgum says North Dakota will continue to see more cases and deaths due to COVID-19 - so it is imperative to take it seriously and take measures to stop its spread. He says he has heard from mayors and witnessed social media posts of larger gatherings taking place.
"It's one thing to get outside and walk your dog, or take your time spending some time alone, or spending time with your family, going for a family drive - it's another thing like here in Bismarck, reports of parties being held and gatherings along the river like in summertime like nothing is going on. Whether it's indoors or outdoors, we're requesting you don't attend or hold gatherings of more than ten people. The key here is physical distance."
There are currently 109 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota, but Governor Burgum warns the true number is likely much higher than that. To date there have been 3,909 tests, 19 hospitalizations, and 20 recoveries.