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What COVID risk level changes mean for North Central North Dakota counties

Updated county COVID risk levels
Updated county COVID risk levels(North Dakota Department of Health)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 5:55 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – After monitoring COIVD numbers across the state Gov. Doug Burgum, R-ND, announced Wednesday that several counties will be moving to code orange “high risk” status for the first time since the model was developed.

While Ward county remains at code yellow, Your News Leader takes a look at how that new status will be effecting surrounding counties.

Bottineau, Mountrail, McHenry and McLean counties have switched to cod orange as of Wednesday. Along with that change in color comes a change in code for public places. “We need to make those small investments in behavioral changes that are free and don’t require government subsides before we’re forced into a situation that other states have been forced into and where we found ourselves last spring when we were facing the unknown,” said Burgum during his weekly press briefing Wednesday. Burgum announced starting Friday, orange counties will be required to follow an updated list of guidelines.

Released on Wednesday, the new Smart Restart guidelines allow businesses in orange areas to stay open that would have had to close down under previously-released suggestions. On top of a 25% capacity limit for most public spaces, restaurants in orange counties are recommended to switch back to curbside and delivery only but not required to do so. Personal care businesses such as salons will be allowed to continue operating instead of having to close back down.

Fitness centers will also be allowed to continue operating as long as patrons and staff wear masks responsibly. Movie theatres will be limited to 50 patrons per theatre. ND Director of Disease Control Kirby Kruger said health leaders consider three factors before determining risk levels in a county: -Number of active cases per 10,000 residents per county -Number of tests per 10,000 residents -Test positivity rate per county All are considered in 14-day rolling averages to keep up with the incubation period for the virus. “That means we take a look at the previous 14 days, how many for example if it’s active cases, how many active cases were reported per day in that 14 day period and we take the average of that and put that over the population per 10,000,” said Krueger. The updated guidelines provide new operating procedures for all codes as well. You can find more info on that here: https://www.health.nd.gov/healthmetrics

Image: North Dakota Department of Health

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