• ​November 20 Press Conference Summary

    ​November 20 Press Conference Summary

    Current COVID-19 Case Numbers in North Dakota: 70,016 total positive cases, 9,915 active confirmed cases, 59,283 recovered, 818 deaths
    Speakers: Governor Burgum, Dr. Bill Heegaard - president of Essentia Health’s West Market, Dr. Josh Ranum of West River Health Services in Hettinger, House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, Valley City Public Schools Superintendent Josh Johnson, and Williston Public School District No. 1 Superintendent Jeff Thake.

    Focus: 75th Press Briefing, Top 4 goals of the Governor's Office for COVID Response

    1. protect the vulnerable
    2. adequate hospital capacity for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 needs
    3. in-person schooling
    4. keep economy open.
    Additional points of note:
    • Health Concerns
      • Major reason for the mask and business operational adjustment mandates is that under the current trajectory North Dakota would have quickly exceeded hospital capacity.
      • North Dakota will be receiving around 60 medical personnel from the Air Force. ND is receiving this assistance through a FEMA grant.
      • Hospital update
        • Dr. Heegaard – Essentia has capacity but it is tight. Medical staff is the largest limiting factor to growing capacity. This could also reduce capacity in some cases.  
        • Dr. Ranum – They have seen a steady increase in the area, which is straining their system.  He stressed the importance of keeping their staff healthy as that directly correlates with capacity.   
    • Sports Update
      • Wardner and Pollert expressed their support for allowing sports and other extracurricular activities to practice while the executive order is in place.
      • Executive order expires on December 14. 
      • Superintendent Johnson and Thake supported the executive order and the amendment that would give pause to some sporting activities but still allow practices. This will give schools the opportunity to re-evaluate.  
    • Business
    Other issues covered: Last press briefing being held in the Brynhild Haugland Room at Capitol; future ones will be at another location due to legislative session. To contact the Governor's office with COVID-19 questions call: 1-866-207-2880.  Parental resources for behavioral health: www.parentslead.org