The North Dakota Department of Health on Tuesday, April 7, announced 12 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

The total positive tests for the virus in North Dakota is up to 237, however the department lists 82 people as having recovered from the illness. There are currently 18 residents hospitalized with the illness and four people, all at least 70 years old, have died.

Five of the new cases Tuesday came from Cass County, which has by far the most positive tests of any county in the state. The county's total is now up to 70 — nearly 30% of the state's total.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney and West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis issued directives Tuesday urging residents in both cities to stay home to slow the spread of the illness. The directives will not be enforced by law.

A total of 7,703 tests for the virus have been reported to the state, and 27 counties now have at least one known case of the illness, with the first confirmed case announced in rural Bowman County on Tuesday.

Minnesota

With just a week to go before a critical mid-April window once projected as the peak of coronavirus patients over-running Minnesota hospitals, Gov. Tim Walz and health officials pointed to encouraging signs that the state is slowing the spread of the virus, and pushing back the acceleration of new cases.

"Some of the models said the peak would have been here by now," said state health commissioner Jan Malcolm during the governor's daily press briefing. "I'm personally gratified to see the growth rate staying in a stable zone, but that could change any day."

Though Tuesday, April 7, marked another highest one-day jump in new cases with 83, and though the state added four deaths and seven ICU cases, these daily increases remain in the single digits, the state's hospitals have yet to see the system become swamped with patients, and the doubling rate is slowing.

Citations for violating Walz’s orders to stay at home and halt business operations have started trickling in across the state.

As of Monday, April 6, eight people were charged with violating the emergency orders. The orders require bars and restaurants to halt dine-in services as well as having residents largely stay at home. Violating the order is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail.

South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem declared a statewide day of prayer for Wednesday, April 8, as the coronavirus death toll in the state rose to six.

Noem's declaration comes even as she has repeatedly rebuffed calls from medical, county and city leaders across the state for stricter statewide measures, choosing instead to issue a stay-at-home order for high-risk individuals in two counties Monday -- her harshest curb so far on the state's residents.

South Dakota was at a "critical point in time" as it faces the widening spread of the coronavirus, she said Tuesday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 320, nearly tripling the case total in a week.

The state still lacks the hospital beds and life-saving ventilators it will need for the mid-June peak of the virus forecast by state and health system officials, although Noem has said state and health system officials have a plan to meet the state's needs by the expected surge.

Around the region

  • There had been a total of 2,578 positive test results for COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Tuesday. That's a one-day increase of 138 confirmed cases. Statewide, approximately 29% of confirmed COVID-19 cases required hospitalization.

  • North Dakotans will now be legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning from Minnesota, unless they work in an "essential" field. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Minnesota on Monday, April 6, to a growing list of states with widespread community transmission of COVID-19. State officials said Tuesday afternoon an amendment to the quarantine order could be forthcoming to ensure that North Dakota and Minnesota residents could move more freely across the border to receive health care.

  • North Dakota introduced a new iPhone application called Care 19 that tracks users' movements to public places, like grocery stores and takeout restaurants. In practical use, Burgum said the free app would allow users to more easily recall where they've been in case they come down with COVID-19 and need to trace everyone with whom they've had contact. A few hours after the rollout, 1,200 people had begun using the app.

  • President Donald Trump has approved the state of Minnesota's request for federal disaster assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's Tuesday approval comes two days after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested federal assistance, saying that the state "responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible,” but “the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted" without federal help.

  • According to Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, the state is still “waiting on guidance from the federal government” regarding the extra $600 per week for unemployment benefit. That's on top of the federal $1,200 check as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package.

  • Minnesota's attorney general and U.S. attorney have assembled a team aimed at clamping down on illegal activity related to the coronavirus. It will focus on investigating and prosecuting crimes that exploit the pandemic, such as price-gouging, scams, hoarding of essential medical supplies, cybercrimes and “schemes targeting economic impact payments,” along with other related criminal activity, according to information released Monday.

  • Masked or not, Wisconsin voters turned out to polls Tuesday in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each venue was outfitted with bottles of disinfectant, boxes of pens and clearly marked spots that kept election officials 6 feet away from voters.

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