The first person who died from coronavirus in North Dakota was a Navy veteran and educator who declined to be put on a ventilator, possibly to save it for another patient, his niece said Saturday, March 28.

Roger Lehne, 93, died Thursday, March 26, at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Fargo due to complications from the illness, according to a death notice published Saturday. Anderson Family Funeral Home in Mahnomen, Minn., is handling the arrangements for funeral services, which are expected to be held at a later date.

The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed 26 new positive tests for coronavirus Saturday, March 28. A total of 94 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, but the department's website lists 18 people as having recovered from the illness.

Seven of the new cases come from Cass County, which now has the second most of any county in the state at 18. New cases have also been reported in Ward, Stark, Morton, Burleigh, Barnes, McLean, Mercer Mountrail, Divide and Sioux counties.

Gov. Doug Burgum has previously said that the cases are reported based on patients' mailing addresses, rather than their actual location in the state.

16 patients remain hospitalized with the illness, and Burgum announced Friday a Cass County man in his 90s was the state's first fatality.

A total of 3,107 tests for the virus have been reported to the state, and 18 counties have at least one known case of the illness. Nearly half of the positive tests have come from Burleigh and Morton counties, which includes the Bismarck-Mandan area, but cases have recently been climbing in Cass County.

In Minnesota, a fifth person has died of COVID-19, state health officials reported on Saturday. The person was an individual in their 70s with an underlying health condition who lived in Hennepin County.

So far, all five persons to have died of coronavirus in the state are said to have had an underlying health condition.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health on Saturday, March 28, reported 43 new cases of the coronavirus in the state, including one new death in Hennepin County.

The state’s confirmed case count rose to 441, of which 220 have recovered.

The state conducted 361 tests Friday, but a count of new tests contributed by private labs including Mayo Clinic Laboratories continued its rapid climb in daily testing, contributing 1,765 tests in one day. Health officials report that over 16,000 Minnesotans had been tested for the virus.

On Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz also signed a comprehensive COVID-19 bill designating $330 million in aid for Minnesota's response. The legislature passed the bill Thursday to fund child care providers, put up homeless individuals in motels, stock food shelves and food banks. The plan also sets up a $200 million COVID-19 fund that can be used to respond to the effects of the pandemic.

South Dakota

The number of positive COVID-19 cases were up 10 in the state’s latest report on Saturday.

The South Dakota Department of Health has confirmed 68 cases.

In Pierre, Gov. Kristi Noem said according to the state’s data, peak infection of COVID-19 will hit South Dakota in late May or early June.

Overall, the state has reported 2,660 test results, and there were no pending results on Saturday.

Of the 68 positive cases, 26 people have recovered. One person has died.

Around the region

  • President Donald Trump traveled to Virginia for an event Saturday signaling the departure of Comfort, a Navy hospital ship bound for New York. During the visit, Trump said he was considering a quarantine for a tri-state region comprised of New York, New Jersey and part of Connecticut.

  • The U.S. saw a wave of new positive cases as the pandemic continues to surge in the country. There were more than 116,00 confirmed cases and 1,925 deaths due to COVID-19 as of 3 p.m. Saturday, according to John Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic globally. More than 500 of the deaths have been in New York City. There have been another 125 deaths in Washington, 110 throughout New York and 86 in New Jersey.

  • The number of positive test results jumped to 989 in Wisconsin, up from 842 the previous day, according to the state. There have been 13 deaths related to COVID-19 in the state.

  • A South Dakota lawmaker is in critical condition after being diagnosed with COVID-19. State Rep. Bob Glanzer, R-Huron, and his wife, Penny, both tested positive for the virus, according to a South Dakota Republican Party page.

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