Local health officials for Burleigh and Morton Counties urge the continuation of public health mitigation measures following Governor Burgum’s announcement to reduce risk levels for the state of North Dakota. Beginning 8 AM, Friday, January 29, 2021, North Dakota’s COVID-19 risk level will be lowered from moderate/yellow risk to low/green risk. This risk reduction does not mean the pandemic is over, however.
“We are encouraged to see lower case numbers in our region, but we can’t let our guard down just yet,” said BBPH Director, Renae Moch. “Today we have 125 active positive COVID-19 cases in Burleigh County, but just a few months ago we had an all-time high of 1,403 cases.” November 13, 2020 a statewide mask mandate was announced for North Dakota. That same day Burleigh County saw a record high for active positive cases. Cases have continued to decrease as mitigation measures were enforced. “We certainly do not want to go back to the crisis we were in during the months of October and November,” Moch said.
“We are in good shape right now because of the mask mandate,” said Custer Health Administrator Erin Ourada. “However, the rest of the country and world are not fairing so well and that will be knocking on our doorstep soon if we let down our guard.” Mask wearing should also be accompanied by proper mask-wearing habits and hand hygiene.
COVID-19 vaccinations will be key to getting everyone back to normal, pre-pandemic operations. “Every dose administered keeps someone safe,” said Moch. “But we haven’t reached the point of herd immunity yet.”
Vaccinations began at the end of December for residents in Burleigh and Morton Counties. Following vaccination of first responders, healthcare staff and long-term care residents and staff, the vaccine was made available to individuals over the age of 75 in January. Priority groups will continue to receive the vaccine in coming months.
All individuals are encouraged to continue practicing universal precautions to keep yourself and those around you as healthy as possible:
- Avoid large gatherings.
- Practice physical distancing that keeps you at least six feet from other people who are not in your household.
- Wear a face covering if social distancing is not possible.
- Wash your hands with soap often. If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Monitor your health daily and be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.
The ND Department of Health continues to provide a COVID-19 Hotline to help answer questions. Call 1-866-207-2880, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, with questions. Please note individuals seeking specific medical advice should contact their healthcare provider.
For COVID-19 testing and vaccination inquiries, as well as questions about other health programs and issues, please call Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health at 355-1540, or Custer Health at 667-3371, or you can connect with us through a variety of online platforms and social media. For more info about COVID-19, visit the ND Department of Health website, NDResponse.gov, or CDC website.