NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — There are more children missing school and more adults missing work, with employers missing staff. There is an increase in hospitalizations of young and old.

According to a news release, the impact of North Dakota’s rise in respiratory illnesses is felt throughout all communities.

First District Health Unit is not going to require an appointment for flu or COVID-19 vaccinations in the Minot for the rest of the month, just to help increase access to prevention. Online and call-in appointments will still be available.

Any person can walk in between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours will be extended to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21, and Thursday, December 22. A nurse will be available during lunch hours, and no one will be denied based on their ability to pay.

Flu cases in North Dakota have nearly doubled in each of the last four weeks. And according to, 50 cases of influenza were reported in the weekend ending on November 5, and almost 900 cases in the week ending on December 3.

COVID-19 is also back on the rise, and many of those who are vaccinated haven’t gotten the current booster dose to fight the strains that are not circulating. Any person who has not gotten a COVID shot since September should get the updated booster.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is also hitting more people this year. It can infect anyone, but those under four years of age and the elderly are most likely to be put in the hospital. There is no vaccine to prevent RSV.

“There are more cases of respiratory illnesses requiring hospitalization now than in comparable periods pre-pandemic,” said First District Health Unit Officer Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe.

Nwaigwe encourages people to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 and to practice precautions.