Burgum opens North Dakota to larger gatherings with stipulations


The guidelines will be released and finalized late Friday evening or Saturday, but he said they would essentially allow an event venue to be at 50% of its capacity to leave immediately, up to 250 people.

This would mean that during the summer, weddings, receptions, banquets, sporting events, concerts and other larger gatherings could take place.

Previously, music and entertainment venues, as well as recreational and sports arenas, had been closed under previous orders.

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Burgum said proper distance should be a priority at sites with contactless payment systems.

The governor consulted with various site operators across the state, including officials from the Fargodome and Alerus Center in Grand Forks, as well as state health officials to discuss options.

Although he authorizes the rallies, Burgum said he would encourage about 20% of North Dakotans who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus to perhaps consider staying away this summer.

For example, he said, they may want to watch a wedding or an online reception instead of attending the event.

Among those at high risk, he said, continue to be those over the age of 65 and people with underlying health conditions such as cancer or diabetes.

Burgum said the state was never at the “critical stage” of the pandemic, which would be above the high risk level the state has been in since March.

In the future, he said that the state could enter the low-risk phase where he believed there could be even larger gatherings of people, and then eventually towards “new normal.”

Governor said he could put the state in moderate risk due to increased testing, contact tracing, continued isolation of infected and at-risk individuals, and better-equipped hospitals to manage seriously ill people. Hospitalizations dropped Thursday from three to 35 people.

On Thursday, 2,310 tests were carried out across the state, including 1,404 on individuals not previously tested. This brings the total number of tests completed to 60,492 out of 51,715 people.

Of the 51,715 individuals tested in North Dakota so far, 11,453 are found in Cass County, which continues to be the state’s hotspot, as the county first reached more than 1,000 cases reported.

While the county accounts for 58% of statewide cases and 82% of new cases reported on Thursday, it accounts for only 22% of tests.

Burgum said the state aims to test 4,000 people a day by the end of May, while increasing the number of tests in Cass County and performing more new tests or “serial tests” in establishments long-term care, manufacturing plants or where an epidemic could occur. .

He said there were still counties in the state that still have no cases reported.

The North Dakota Department of Health said Friday that positive tests for COVID-19 in Cass County had reached 1,032, with the 43 new cases on Thursday.

On Thursday, two other North Dakotans died of the virus, bringing the state total to 42. The two people claimed by the virus were men with pre-existing conditions, one in his forties in Grand County Forks and one in 90 in Cass County. Nationwide, 83,947 people died from COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of 1,701 from the previous day.

The man in Grand Forks County is the third person in his forties to die from the virus in North Dakota. Of the 42 deaths, 27 were 80 years of age or older, including nine 70 to 79 years of age, one 60 to 69 years of age and two 50 to 59 years of age.

While 948 of 1,761 positive cases in North Dakota involved people aged 39 and under, there were no deaths in this age group and 622 reportedly recovered.

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