Bismarck (CSi)  Governor Doug Burgum held his weekly COVID-19 News Briefing Nov 20 at the State Capital in Bismarck.

Joining Burgum were, North Dakota House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, Dr. Bill Heegaard, president of Essentia Health’s West Market, Dr. Josh Ranum of West River Health Services in Hettinger, Valley City Public Schools Superintendent Josh Johnson and Williston Public School District No. 1 Superintendent Jeff Thake.

The legislators also joined the governor, when Burgum issued on Wednesday November 18, an amended order that will allow practices to resume for high school winter sports and association, community and club sports for youth and adults starting Nov. 30.  Competitions will remain suspended until Dec. 14, 2020.  Burgum has said the state wants to preserve the winter sports season.


 The change comes after daily consultation and collaboration between the governor and legislative leaders, constructive input from the North Dakota High School Activities Association and athletic associations, and feedback from numerous legislators, parents, school administrators, students, coaches, mental health professionals, and others concerned about the impacts of suspended activities on students’ well-being.


Burgum said this briefing is the last at the Brynhild Haugland Room, as the State Legislature will meet there.  The news briefings will be held at another location at the capital.


ND COVID-19 Stats

Fri. Nov. 20,  2020



Barnes County:

New Deaths 3

  • Man in his 70s
  • Man in his 70s
  • Man in his 60s

Total Deaths 8

New Positives   23

Total Positives  865

Active Cases 220

Recovered  637



3 new deaths

  • Woman in her 90s
  • Woman in her 80s
  • Man in his 60s

Total deaths 38


New Positives  43

Active Cases 436

Recovered 1820


COVID-19 Test Results 
The results listed are from the previous day. Additional data can be found on the NDDoH website.


10,185 – Total Tests from Yesterday*

1,054,136 – Total tests completed since the pandemic began

1,408 – Positive Individuals from Yesterday*****

70,016 – Total positive individuals since the pandemic began

25,000 in November so far.

14.99% – Daily Positivity Rate**


9,915 – Total Active Cases

-216 Individuals from Yesterday

1,597 – Individuals Recovered from Yesterday (1,253 with a recovery date of yesterday****)

59,283 – Total recovered since the pandemic began

289 – Currently Hospitalized

+13 – Individuals from yesterday


23 – New Deaths*** (818 total deaths since the pandemic began) 


  • Man in his 70s from Barnes County.
  • Man in his 70s from Barnes County.
  • Man in his 60s from Barnes County.
  • Man in his 90s from Cass County.
  • Man in his 50s from Cass County.
  • Man in his 80s from Grand Forks County.
  • Man in his 70s from Grand Forks County.
  • Man in his 80s from Grand Forks County.
  • Man in his 80s from Grand Forks County.
  • Woman in her 90s from Hettinger County.
  • Man in his 80s from McLean County.
  • Woman in her 80s from Ramsey County.
  • Woman in her 100s from Ramsey County.
  • Man in his 100s from Richland County.
  • Man in his 80s from Stark County.
  • Woman in her 90s from Stutsman County.
  • Woman in her 80s from Stutsman County.
  • Man in his 60s from Stutsman County.
  • Woman in her 100s from Ward County.
  • Woman in her 90s from Ward County.
  • Woman in her 50s from Ward County.
  • Man in his 80s from Ward County.
  • Man in his 70s from Ward County.


  • Adams County – 3
  • Barnes County – 23
  • Benson County – 10
  • Billings County – 1
  • Bottineau County – 9
  • Bowman County – 3
  • Burke County – 7
  • Burleigh County – 185
  • Cass County – 219
  • Cavalier County – 2
  • Dickey County – 1
  • Dunn County – 7
  • Eddy County – 4
  • Emmons County – 1
  • Foster County – 5
  • Golden Valley County – 2
  • Grand Forks County – 153
  • Grant County – 7
  • Griggs County – 3
  • Hettinger County – 11
  • Kidder County – 2
  • LaMoure County – 7
  • Logan County – 2
  • McHenry County – 12
  • McIntosh County – 6
  • McKenzie County – 12
  • McLean County – 13
  • Mercer County – 36
  • Morton County – 56
  • Mountrail County – 34
  • Nelson County – 9
  • Oliver County – 5
  • Pembina County – 6
  • Pierce County – 3
  • Ramsey County – 33
  • Ransom County – 2
  • Renville County – 15
  • Richland County – 17
  • Rolette County – 31
  • Sargent County – 9
  • Sheridan County – 1
  • Sioux County – 9
  • Stark County – 52
  • Steele County – 5
  • Stutsman County – 43
  • Towner County – 2
  • Traill County – 16
  • Walsh County – 35
  • Ward County – 240
  • Wells County – 3
  • Williams County – 36


* Note that this does not include individuals from out of state and has been updated to reflect the most recent information discovered after cases were investigated.

**Individuals who tested positive divided by the total number of people tested who have not previously tested positive (susceptible encounters).

*** Number of individuals who tested positive and died from any cause while infected with COVID-19. There is a lag in the time deaths are reported to the NDDoH.

**** The actual date individuals are officially out of isolation and no longer contagious.

*****Totals may be adjusted as individuals are found to live out of state, in another county, or as other information is found during investigation.

For descriptions of these categories, visit the NDDoH dashboard.

For the most updated and timely information and updates related to COVID-19, visit the NDDoH website at, follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and visit the CDC website at

Burgum added that all North Dakota counties have at least two active positive cases.


He says, 25,000 positive case have been recorded so far in November, and if the trend continues hospital capacity will be further stressed.

He added that the entire upper Midwest continues in “COVID Storm,” with a high rate of positive cases and deaths from the virus.


Dr. Bill Heegaard, president of Essentia Health’s West Market, said North Dakota currently has hospital beds available, but it’s getting tight.

He said staffing is the greatest bottleneck, if the staff has an increase in positives, then that’s a game changer, with those people quarantining, or sick at home or in the hospital as patients.

He said masking is effective, against the spread of the virus, as is physical distancing, along with frequent hand washing with soap and water.  He said Thanksgiving gatherings staying small is about not infecting people others, and increasing the spread.  He said the virus stays alive by spreading from person to person, especially in indoors settings.  The CDC is also advising against traveling for Thanksgiving, anywhere.



Dr. Josh Ranum of West River Health Services in Hettinger, said, the COVID Unit at that hospital has been filled with COVID positive patients.  He added if a critical patient needs to be transferred elsewhere, multiple phone calls need to made to find another hospital with room, one transferred as far away as Iowa.

Staffing issues there is also at issue, being engaged due to the number of positive cases in community.  Traveling spreads the virus, as a person can be asymptomatic and give COVID to someone unknowingly.  Wearing a mask keeps businesses open and students in school.

Burgum said his  announcement, late last Friday was timed in order to let the public know about the added mitigation measures in a timely fashion, when they were to take affect this past Saturday.



North Dakota will receive approximately 60 U.S. Air Force medical personnel to assist in the state’s COVID-19 response after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted the state’s request for federal assistance, Gov. Doug Burgum announced today.


The personnel, part of a Department of Defense COVID-19 response operation, are primarily nurses, including critical care nurses. They will split up into multiple specialty teams to support at least six hospitals in four cities: Trinity Hospital in Minot, CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck, Essential Health in Fargo, Sanford Medical Center in Fargo and Altru Health System in Grand Forks.


The teams will deploy Saturday and are expected to start work at the hospitals next week in coordination with the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH). The Air Force nurses will join the 167 nurses who are part of the NDDoH COVID Response Team.


“These dedicated Air Force personnel will help relieve the stress on North Dakota’s more than 20,000 nurses who continue to work tirelessly to provide exceptional care for patients under incredibly challenging conditions,” Burgum said. “With hospitals projecting a surge in COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks, we’re deeply grateful to the Department of Defense and FEMA for granting our request for additional resources to help save lives and alleviate the immense pressure on North Dakota’s hospitals and long-term care facilities.”


North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, said recreation and physical health is an important aspect in the academic success and retention of students, along with good mental health.

North Dakota House Majority Leader Chet Pollert of Carrington said, when last Friday’s announcement was released the a legislative phone meeting was held each of the next several days, addressing issues the public has.  With his wife a school teacher, he is aware of school concerns.    The goal is to keep kids in school, and protest the elderly population.


Valley City Public Schools Superintendent Josh Johnson addressed items in K-12 education.

He said last spring and then forward challenges mounted.

Friday was the 55th consecutive day of continuous in-person classes have been held at VCPS.  He said a fair amount of students have been absent due to COVID-19 or being close contacts.  The majority of VCPS students last week told administrators that they are in favor of in class learning.   A number of students have indicated concerns about mental health issues stemming from the pandemic. Johnson said mental health issues at Valley City Public School is of concern and continue to be addressed. He presented a drawing by a VCPS first grader, to Governor Burgum, indicating the student’s feelings about school and the pandemic.


Williston Public School District No. 1 Superintendent Jeff Thake, said the school district masked  up in September and is now mandated in line with state requirements to slow the spread of COVID-19.  He said, mitigation guidelines are not popular, but necessary.  He said a pause of activities are critical in the pandemic fight.


Burgum said the NDDoH has a public Healthline available at 1-866-207-2880.  On line for more information and service availability on line:


Behavioral Health

The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division has launched a new program to help eligible North Dakotans access community-based substance use disorder treatment services and care coordination services.

Also available is support for parents whose children maybe be depressed concerning various pandemic issues, with school, at home and elsewhere.