BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Feb. 19, reported a small rise in both active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The state has reported 1,435 deaths in the nearly year the pandemic has been in North Dakota. The number of cases are significantly lower than the end of 2020, but health officials are still urging residents to continue pandemic mitigation strategies especially since the United Kingdom strain of COVID-19 was detected in the state earlier this week.

North Dakota confirmed its first cases of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 on Wednesday. An individual traveled to a state with known cases of the U.K. strain, and two other individuals came in close contact with them and tested positive for the strain.

As of Friday, more than 177,000 vaccinations have been administered in North Dakota, and almost 57,000 have received both doses. The Department of Health said as of Thursday, Feb. 18, no COVID-19 deaths have been reported among residents who have completed the COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 hospitalizations increased slightly on Friday to 36 residents, which is down significantly from the more than 350 North Dakotans who were hospitalized at one point in November and the lowest it has been since July.

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Active COVID-19 cases in North Dakota increased slightly from Thursday to 854 residents known to be infected with the virus. This is also the lowest number of active cases the state has reported since July.

The North Dakota Department of Health reported 121 positive cases Friday, including:

  • 19 from Ward County, which includes Minot.
  • 18 from Cass County, which includes Fargo and West Fargo.
  • 17 from Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck.

About 2.4% of the residents tested as part of the latest batch received a positive result, and the average positivity rate of those tested in the last two weeks is about 2.6%.

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Readers can reach Forum News Service reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.