Sanford confirms up to 3% of staff out with COVID-19 or possible COVID-19 exposure

President of Sanford Health Bismarck, Dr. Michael LeBeau, confirmed that at least 60 of his employees are out with COVID-19 or exposure to COVID-19.
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:23 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - President of Sanford Health Bismarck, Dr. Michael LeBeau, confirmed that at least 60 of his employees are out with COVID-19 or exposure to COVID-19, which is roughly 3% of their workforce.

LeBeau didn't name a specific department more impacted than others; saying that it's "generally throughout".

When asked what changes are needed to avoid future spreading amongst hospital staff, LeBeau said they're working on more mask wearing, social distancing, and testing.

Those have been elements of a month's-long campaign statewide.

This came out during the unveiling a new Burleigh-Morton Coronavirus Task Force.

In the counties surrounding the hospital, Burleigh and Morton, have case counts higher than any other metro area in North Dakota. And the new task force is focused on bringing them back down.

On Tuesday night, Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., unveiled a new COVID task force for the capital counties; similarly to what he did for Cass County.

“The goal of is preventing, mitigating the spread of COVID-19, from the collaboration of that group, breaking down any silos we might have across counties or cities,” Burgum said.

Daily positive rates in Burleigh and Morton are above 4%; well-above the state average. The task force’s main objective: bringing it back down. And they’re modeling it off the Fargo plan.

“Two months of very focused effort, Cass County’s rolling 14-day positive rate is lower than the state average. So great progress and we know we’ll have similar success here,” Tammy Miller, COO for the State of North Dakota.

Health leaders identified two reasons they believe explains the spike in cases: the recent July 4 get-togethers and young people creating more transmissible moments.

“The younger population, obviously, they’re the individuals who are out in the community, more active, they’re working, maybe have frontline jobs, and doing service types of positions,” said Public Health Director for Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Renae Moch.

Demand for testing has also spiked in recent weeks. Mass testing sites have seen hundreds of tests gone within a couple hours.

Between the two counties, more than 53,000 tests have been conducted amongst 27,000 unique individuals.

Over the next week, local health leaders will be forming a steering committee to identify the greatest needs for the communities, and how to get them to where they need to go

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