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There are ZERO active COVID cases among long term care residents

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - For the first time since COVID appeared in North Dakota, long-term care residents are free of the virus.

State data says there are no active cases of COVID-19 among residents, but there are four among staff.

Less than one year ago, long term care was one of the biggest concerns for the entire state.

Residents needed to go on lockdown for weeks on end to protect them from the deadly virus.

At one point, nearly all facilities had an active case. Those aged 65+ made up more than 70% of hospitalizations and led to 902 deaths in long term care.

Policies over nursing homes was one of the most combative issues statewide.

But with active resident cases dissolving, things seem clearer.

“Having the time to look back and not have to worry about high numbers, we weren’t all actually against each other. We were working for a common goal, and that common goal was saving lives,” Chris Larson with Reuniting Residents and Families Task Force said.

Federal agencies still have visitation guidelines on some facilities, but nearly all facilities are open for in-person visitation.

But the feds haven’t changed their guidelines, meaning one positive case still shuts down the campus.

“Maybe there’s some hesitancy and wanting to wait to see what manifests with the Delta variant that has impacted other regions greater than North Dakota. But I think everyone is hopeful that we’ll continue to see COVID cases dwindle,” Vulnerable Populations Protection Program member Seth Fisher said.

Even though there are no current cases, the impact on residents remains and some things will never be the same.

Not just in how things look, but how a facility responds to the next threat.

“COVID has changed the way we do things. I think this really has shaped facilities. They realize they need to adapt to the changes, and it’s a rapidly changing environment,” Larson said.

And numbers like these indicate they won’t be looking back any time soon.

Residents and officials credit the numbers and relaxed guidelines on residents, staff, and visitors getting the vaccine.

According to the Department of Health, the vaccine is available at more than 400 locations.

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