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NEW: North Dakota announces first coronavirus case, updates from press conference

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Governor announces the first case of novel coronavirus in North Dakota. The man is in his 60’s and has traveled out of state. He was in contact with someone who has tested positive. The positive test has been sent to the CDC. The state is working to see who has been in contact with the patient. That will help stop the spread of COVID-19. North Dakota’s first case is travel-related, which Governor Burgum says is helpful.

14 tests remain pending in the state at this time.

Governor Doug Burgum says we need to plan and prepare. Burgum says stay home if you’re sick. Clean frequently touched surfaces. Wash your hands with soap and water, sing yourself happy birthday twice says Burgum.

As North Dakotans, we need to be prepared for more positive cases says Burgum. He says it’s highly probable there are cases that just have not been identified because symptoms can be mild.

Avoid transmission through large crowds. At the state level, they’re using a whole state approach says Burgum. They want to pull together all resources. The state has been operating for two months since January at the Department of Health.

We need to focus on the elderly and those with chronic conditions like heart and lung issues. We can’t forget about young children with special needs says Burgum.

A meeting with the health department and 80 skilled nursing facilities has taken place to prepare and plan. There will be visitation protocols put in place to keep the illness out of facilities.

The lab in North Dakota is working to increase testing capacity. Looking at best practices to increase testing. People with mild symptoms should self-isolate. You should always call before you go. Don’t show up to an ER saying you have coronavirus. The ER needs to prepare to see you. There are no anti-virals for COVID-19, so stay home, wash your hands and stay clear of people who may be more vulnerable to the illness.

“We know in North Dakota people care about each other and try to help, and bring hotdish because we’re a caring state. How we think about our actions, think before we act, call before you drop by,” says Governor Burgum.

Governor Burgum says all Governors have direct contact with Vice President Mike Pence. He says he’s pleased with contact with the federal level and the White House.

Mylynn Tufte the North Dakota State Health Officer says they’ve been looking at the facts and talking with faith-based organizations, businesses, and schools as well as corrections and rehabilitations to prepare.

The first North Dakota case of coronavirus is on the mild side and is not a community-spread case according to Kirby Kruger the Health Department’s Director of Disease Control. 26 people have been monitored in North Dakota, 27 people have been tested. Testing is not expected to slow down according to Kruger.

The vast majority will have mild illness and not require hospitalization says Kruger. Preparing for school and daycare closures is something people should prepare for.

If you’ve traveled practice social distancing and self-monitor. Communities need to be prepared to take action.

Q & A with Media:

North Dakota’s case is a presumptive case until the CDC confirms. The state can turn around a result in 24-hours. It depends on transport time and where the testing occurs according to Kruger.

The man who has contracted coronavirus had traveled to the east coast, that’s as specific as the Government can be according to Kirby Kruger. The travel took place in March.

Guidance has been sent to the high school activities association, Kruger says they’re doing things that are appropriate. Hand soap and hand sanitizer are being put in place at activities. They will continue to be in contact with the NDHSAA.

Testing can happen across the state. It is collected around the state, but testing happens at the state lab. Testing supplies are fairly limited according to Kirby Kruger. Criteria to be tested has been loosened from a couple of weeks ago. Risks include travel history and relation to someone with COVID-19. Other illness has been ruled out. Taken into consideration for testing is also whether they are part of the vulnerable population or work with the vulnerable population says Kruger.

It’s unfortunate to see the level of response around retailers, some of it is even criminal. Be prepared and take care of health and hygiene. Eliminating stock within stores is not an appropriate measure says Mylynn Tufte. There’s no concern with tap water at this point says Governor Burgum, so there’s no need to buy bottled water.

The state announced a hotline running Monday-Friday 7-7, it’s available to the public to take questions from the public about COVID 19. The hotline number is 1-866 207-2880. You should take to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your personal health.

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