I was anxiously awaiting Governor Doug Burgum's latest press briefing. I was listening to KFYR-TV's Facebook feed. The reporter said that this briefing is the 75th one concerning Coronavirus.

When Governor Burgum came to the podium, he seemed "lighter" than he has in some of the past recent press briefings. So, it did not seem like he was going to deliver any bad news about our state's COVD-19 risk levels. He acknowledged that the numbers may be high, but that the idea behind out guidelines is right, we all just have to work harder at implementing them.

The governor talked about the latest White House guidelines for "Opening Up America Again." Basically, the White House-issued guidelines mirror the "North Dakota Smart Restart" principles that Governor Burgum has been stressing:

  • SOCIAL DISTANCING - Stay at least six-feet a part.
  • WEAR A MASK - If social distancing is not possible, mask up.
  • WASH/ SANITIZE HANDS - Keep your hands clean and away from your face.
  • STAY HOME - if you are sick, be "North Dakota Smart" and stay home.

Since the White House has similar guidelines to North Dakota, the Governor is confident that our numbers can decrease. So, he is still pushing for North Dakotans to take personal responsibility by choosing to wear masks and choosing to social distance. He is also happy that certain cities have taken the lead on issuing mask mandates for their citizens.

Other important points from Governor Burgum's press briefing include:

  • NEW RAPID TESTING - Rapid tests that use only saliva will start in some North Dakota cities, including Bismarck.
  • BUSINESS RELIEF -
  • DEATHS WITH UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITONS - No longer going to be noted on press releases. That information will be available on COVID-19 DASHBOARD
  • CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUNDS - These funds are for families, businesses, education and health.
    • K-12 SCHOOLS - $33 million in new funding
    • HOSPITALITY - $29 million in new funding
    • HEALTH CARE - $10 million to large referral hospitals
    • LAW ENFORCEMENT- $61 million for local payroll support
    • ENERGY RESILIENCE - $16 million funding to support jobs
    • BUSINESS DEBT RELIEF - $20 million in new funding
    • HUMAN SERVICES - $15.8 million for child care, long-term care, behavioral health, rent assistance, and food security

And we can't forget, the governor gave us a little challenge to work towards our goal of "flattening the curve." He gave North Dakotans a "Thanksgiving Challenge." The challenge is for all North Dakota counties to lower their cases between now and Thanksgiving.