A Cass County man in his 90s has died from the coronavirus, making him the first fatality from the illness in North Dakota.
The North Dakota Department of Health announced the death Friday morning, March 27, shortly after releasing its morning numbers on conducted tests. The state confirmed seven positive cases of coronavirus Friday morning, bringing the total to 65.
The man who died was not part of the number of new cases released Friday morning. His case was confirmed in a batch of test numbers released March 24, according to previous reports. North Dakota reported its first case March 18.
Of Friday’s seven new cases, Cass County reported two — a man and woman both in their 60s. Morton County had three — a man and woman each in their 50s and a woman in her 60s, according to a news release from the North Dakota Department of Health. Stark County also listed a man in his 50s.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday, March 27, reported 52 new cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota and two new deaths, bringing the number of fatalities from the illness to four.
All four Minnesotans to die from the illness so far were residents in their 80s. The three of the deaths — including the two reported on Friday — were in long term care centers, state health officials said.
Minnesota has now tallied 398 confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 14,003 tests processed so far. And health officials say the total is an undercount as tests are limited. Statewide, 34 patients are hospitalized for coronavirus, and 14 were in an ICU setting. To date, 180 have recovered from COVID-19 in Minnesota and no longer need to be isolated.
An executive order that Walz issued Wednesday was set to take effect Friday at 11:59 p.m. requiring all non-exempt Minnesotans to stay home except for essential services. That order is set to remain in effect for at least two weeks.
Without any mitigation efforts in the state, 74,000 people could be expected to die of the illness, state models show.
State lawmakers sped through a $330 million plan to fund child care providers, put up homeless individuals in motels, stock food shelves and food banks. The plan also sets up a $200 million COVID-19 fund that can be used to respond to the effects of the pandemic.
In Pierre, Gov. Kristi Noem said according to the state’s data, peak infection of COVID-19 will hit South Dakota in late May or early June.
“What we are doing is working,” Noem said. “I’ll be honest, I anticipated we would have a lot more people testing positive for COVID-19 at this point if you were to ask me a couple weeks ago.”
Noem said that there will be times where the state won’t be able to provide the public with the test results like they’ve been able to thus far because of the expected influx of tests and potential cases.
The testing workload, she said, will strain the state’s testing capabilities.
There were 58 positive COVID-19 cases in South Dakota on Friday, up 12 from Thursday, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.
Noem said the National Guard has been involved with planning for months now and has been planning for the potential need to construct hospitals to care for people in the future.
Around the region
President Donald Trump signed Friday a $2 trillion aid package designed to help American businesses and households reeling from the economic fallout created by the shutting down of much of the country's business activity.
More than 300,000 people applied for Minnesota's unemployment insurance program since March 16. In North Dakota, jobless claims soared to nearly 14,000 over the recent nine-day period.
The U.S. has confirmed 85,356 positive cases and 1,246 deaths due to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wisconsin health authorities reported that 842 people have tested positive. The state has seven deaths related to COVID-19.
Nursing students on the verge of graduation in Minnesota and North Dakota are facing a shortage of licensing test centers as they prepare to enter the workforce in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spokesperson John Stiles said via email on Friday, March 27, that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has received 483 complaints of price gouging, as defined in Gov. Tim Walz's Executive Order 20-10, in the past week. One example, a Little Canada-based online retailer, Dragon Door Publications Inc., began selling N95 masks for $5 each plus shipping, and offered to donate masks if customers bought the company's nearly $500 fitness program.
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