“There may be counties that actually should be in the orange risk level” – State COO

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - After Gov. Doug Burgum raised eight North Dakota counties to a moderate risk level for COVID-19 and lowered the level for 13 others, it’s generated a lot of questions and some confusion. The office gave out a rough list of qualifications on who fits which category and why.

The Governor’s Office unveiled a rubric that counties can use to determine which COVID risk level they should be in. The shifts in color are based on three criteria: positive rates, active cases, and testing capacity. While there’s no specific trigger, the office gave this chart as a risk calculator.


Each counties threat level will be evaluated on a weekly basis, and guidelines and recommendations could change. However, with the lag in data, State COO Tammy Miller said that the color these counties are in could have been adjusted more.

“When we evaluated the risk this time, we moved counties only one level. There may be counties that actually should be in the orange risk level, but they just went to moderate this first time,” Miller said.

Burgum said he wouldn’t look into mandatory moves until the positive rate hit double digits, or “High Risk” according to the chart.

These three are not the determining factors, and each factor isn’t necessarily weighed the same. Miller even added that these thresholds are likely to change throughout the pandemic.

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