It was about 15 minutes before his latest press conference before I realized Governor Doug Burgum was doing yet another COVID-19 briefing on Monday (November 9). I thought, "Is this it? Is today the day that North Dakota will get a statewide mask mandate? Or will businesses be forced to close down again?"

This was another one of the press briefings that I was on-edge for - initially. Governor Burgum started off talking about the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and such. He told us that it took seven months to get to 5,000 cases, and only three weeks to get all the way up to 10,000 cases.

The governor went on to say that we could be facing a situation, in the next two-to-three weeks, if we do not do something about it. He said that our hospitals are under enormous pressure, causing unsustainable strain. So, he is urging us to participate in masking, physical distancing, sanitizing, and anything else we can do to slow community spread, and ultimately, reduce hospital capacity.

So, still no mask mandate, still no forced business closures. Just more urging and pleading for compliance.

But here are are some big announcements the governor did make on Monday:

  • Hospital workers who have tested positive for COVID-19, yet are asymptomatic, will be able to work as long as they are only working in COVID units with patients who are also positive for the virus. Governor Burgum also pointed out that this practice is approved by the CDC.
  • The North Dakota Department of Health is offering $30-$42 per hour for new EMS hires.
  • The entire state of North Dakota has moved to "High-Risk/ Orange" on the Governor's pandemic meter.

The Bismarck Tribune has more details on the Governor's press briefing and pandemic numbers here.

I'm curious, if the entire state of North Dakota moves to the "Red" threat-level, will Governor Burgum actually decide to change-up his "North Dakota Smart Restart" program?