As of Oct. 14, North Dakota recorded its seventh straight day of record active cases. The total is now 4,750.
Cases have been steadily climbing since July according to North Dakota Department of Health data.
Gov. Doug Burgum opened up his statements with a sense of urgency on Wednesday, but ultimately, it all came back to trusting the citizens of North Dakota to protect one another.
For months, Gov. Burgum has preached personal responsibility as the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Dakota.
“Last spring we had a tremendous togetherness and we need to rekindle the hearts in the window spirit that we had then,” he shared.
But with the active cases and number of deaths reported each day steadily climbing for about three months, making October the deadliest month yet in the state, the Governor refuses to talk about a plan B.
KX News asked him, “As things continue to trend in the wrong direction with no end in sight, is there a point where personal responsibility is not enough anymore? Is there a threshold or date to hit? And, what is that?”
The Governor responded, “We haven’t drawn a line in the sand that says, you know, if we get to X, Y, Z then we have to take more action.”
The Governor says he’s not ruling out anything, but trusts counties to follow guidelines according to risk level, and local businesses and individuals to follow suit.
“It’s important for businesses to step up. There’s no reason whatsoever that businesses should not be requiring and offering and supporting all of their employees to wear masks during this time,” he added.
He says a mask mandate is not enforceable or proven to work.
“There are some people in North Dakota that are very clear that they’re not wearing a mask under any circumstances,” the Governor said. “I can’t speak to their belief system that leads to that conclusion.”
What is proven is that mask-wearing indoors and when social distancing cannot be maintained, does slow the spread. North Dakota’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Joshua Wynne and the Governor repeat this every week.
One change announced by the Governor today: 16 North Dakota counties are changing from a moderate to high-risk level.
Nine counties will move from low up to moderate risk, and two are moving from the new normal back to low risk.
The Governor said, as of Friday at 5 p.m., if counties get into the critical or red risk level, business closures will once again be recommended in those areas. The keyword, being “recommended”.