Do not panic, Governor Burgum did not just shut North Dakota down.

Cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota are back on the rise. Even with Governor Doug Burgum's North Dakota Smart Restart and $1.8 million campaign meant to encourage North Dakotans to wear masks, we have failed to "flatten the curve." So, now, some North Dakota counties have shifted to a higher risk level on the ROYGBIV (minus "IV") threat scale.

Governor Burgum talked in today's Press Briefing about the misreporting of available beds in North Dakota. The governor said that we are NOT out of beds in our state, and they are making sure to keep beds staffed as cases arise. He also said that it is important for us to all do our part to reduce community spread.

But the positive cases throughout our state kind of seem to be spreading like wildfire. So much so that there are several North Dakota counties that have shifted to higher risk levels. Sixteen counties have moved from yellow to orange (from moderate-risk to high-risk). Check out those counties below:

  • Benson
  • Bottineau
  • Burleigh
  • Cass
  • Dickey
  • Dunn
  • Emmons
  • Golden Valley
  • McHenry
  • McKenzie
  • McLean
  • Morton
  • Mountrail
  • Sioux
  • Stark
  • Williams

Now, don't get too worked up about the "high-risk" label just yet. Governor Burgum DID say, earlier this spring, that Level Orange meant business closures. But now, the closures are reserved for Level Red (no ND counties are at that level at the moment). 

So, what will this risk level shift mean for these sixteen counties? The governor said that, starting Friday at 5:00 PM, businesses operating in these counties should be at

  • Businesses - 25% capacity, not to exceed 50.
    • Company face mask requirements recommended.
  • Restaurants - 25% capacity, not to exceed 50.
    • curbside, takeout, and delivery recommended. Company face mask requirements recommended. 
  • Other Gatherings - outdoor gatherings where social distancing can be possible (ex. high school football games, masks encouraged when closer than six-feet) are encouraged more than larger indoor gatherings (ex. indoor weddings and no masks)
  • ndresponse.gov will have these updated details and more on Friday.

Not the whole state is falling back, though! There are some counties that are "flattening the curve."

Governor Burgum did stress that he does not want to shut down North Dakota, its schools, and its economy. He still encourages us to follow local guidelines and be "North Dakota Smart" and self-police on masks and social distancing. Hopefully, his recommendations can somehow get us to our "new normal."