The department also confirmed the death of a Cass County man in his 90s from the illness.
Like every other victim of the illness in North Dakota, the man had underlying health conditions, according to the department. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults and people with HIV, diabetes, asthma, liver disease or other conditions that compromise one’s immune system are at a greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
Forty-three North Dakotans, including 33 residents of Cass County, have now died from the illness that has claimed more than 89,000 lives nationwide. At least 29 of the deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to the department.
The total number of positive tests for the virus in the state is at 1,900, but 1,178 people have recovered from the illness, including 67 announced Sunday. There are 30 residents hospitalized with the illness, down three from Saturday.
For the second consecutive day, the state announced more than 2,500 test results, however about 800 of the people in the latest batch had previously been tested for the virus. Gov. Doug Burgum has stated that he would like to see regular testing of vulnerable residents, especially those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Forty-one of the new cases Sunday came from Cass County, which encompasses Fargo and West Fargo. The county now has 1,147 known cases, but the department reports that 637 residents have recovered after previously testing positive.
Cass County accounts for 70% of the active COVID-19 cases, but only 22% of the people tested in North Dakota reside in the county. Burgum said last week the state would aim to close the testing disparity in the county by week’s end, but the gap continues to grow.
The other 11 new cases Sunday are from Burleigh, Grand Forks, McLean, Morton, Mountrail, Ransom, Steele, Traill and Walsh counties.
A total of 65,911 tests have been performed, but some residents have been tested more than once.
Burgum said the state and its health care providers aim to perform 4,000 tests per day by the end of the month. He has maintained throughout the pandemic that widespread available testing is the key to restoring normalcy to work and home life. North Dakota ranks among the top states in testing per capita.
Nursing home cases inch up as testing targets facilities
The number of cases in residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities increased by 10 on Sunday to 367. Nursing homes are particularly susceptible to deadly outbreaks of COVID-19 because many residents are 65 or older and have underlying conditions.
Nearly three-quarters of the cases tied to nursing homes have come in Fargo. Villa Maria rehabilitation center in Fargo has the most cases of any facility in the state at 52. There are also 47 cases tied to Rosewood on Broadway, 41 tied to Bethany on University and 34 tied to Eventide facilities.
Four nursing homes in Grand Forks have reported 20 total cases of the illness, including Valley Senior Living on Columbia with 11 cases.
An executive order restricting visitation at nursing homes remains in place as most other restrictions on movement and business closures have been lifted.
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