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North Dakota’s COVID-19 risk level is being questioned

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North Dakota has been in the Green for some time now in regards to the risk level for COVID-19.

Some people believe it’s not matching up to the number of cases.

Burleigh County currently stands as the second county in terms of active positive cases with 377 residents currently with the virus.

With cases continuing to roll in some task force members are suggesting the state take a step back when it comes to that risk level.

“Unfortunely because we don’t take this pandemic seriously enough we’re not following those simply steps and we’re seeing our numbers rise,” explains Sister Kathleen Atkinson.

Sister Kathleen Atkinson sits on the Under Served Population subcommittee on the Burleigh-Morton County COVID-19 Task Force.

She says the number of cases and the risk level of the state do not coincide.

“A simple, consistent strong message. What’s happening by giving varieties of messages is people are taking it less serious,” explains Atkinson.

In western North Dakota a rise in cases can be seen not only in Burleigh County but also Stark and Ward. raising the question of when Governor Doug Burgum will make the decision on moving the risk level.

“I think that’s where some of the concern is the people that are on the task force is it’s not just necessarily Burleigh and Morton. Even though we have a task force assigned to our area. It’s starting to move into other areas as well. And when we look at the state as whole, should that number at the level be changed,” explains Renae Moch, the Director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Governor Burgum addressed the risk level of the state last week in his press conference and says they have moved the dial back, closer to the yellow.

“I would say there’s been good, healthy debate about this there, is, that have been members including Dr. Stahl who’ve advocated for reasons that we have some parts of the state to be yellow,” explains Burgum.

One question that’s been raised is why haven’t counties made the decision to move back on their own and the answer is there is a process.

“We would have to work through our city attorney, our city and county health officer would need to be consulted and work through some of the channels legally to see what our options would be,” explains Moch.

Governor Burgum’s office adds he’s expected to discuss this exact topic in tomorrow’s weekly press conference.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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