Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 06:40 pm Categories:

Gov. Doug Burgum today urged North Dakotans to remain vigilant against the novel coronavirus as the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases reached 30.

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) today confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19: a woman in her 30s in Burleigh County and a man in his 40s in Pierce County. The woman’s case was travel-related, and the man had been in close contact with a known positive case. The state has tested 1,355 individuals; four are hospitalized.

Burgum noted results are pending for roughly 300 test samples taken in Cass County and sent to a national lab. He also pointed to cases in neighboring states such as South Dakota, which reported a spike in cases Sunday with six additional cases in Beadle County and one in Brown County.

“This could happen at any time in any community in North Dakota. There’s no community that’s immune … and that’s why social distancing is so important,” Burgum said. “This is not the time to be complacent. We’ve got to be vigilant.”

The governor announced he has requested a significant increase in contact tracing efforts to better determine who newly identified COVID-19 cases have been in contact with in recent days.

As he foreshadowed Thursday, Burgum also signed an executive order today giving K-12 school districts until March 27 to submit plans for resuming instruction with age-appropriate, distance learning methods.

School districts have until April 1 to have their plan approved by the governor, in conjunction with the state superintendent, and implemented to receive their final state aid payment for the current school year. Districts not ready by April 1 will be eligible for a delayed state aid payment upon approval and initiation of their plan. Access to school facilities remains restricted to essential staff only until further notice.