Burgum: Grateful for COVID efforts and an effective emergency process
From early on in this pandemic, it was clear this was going to be more of a marathon than a sprint.
Now, thanks to the selfless and tireless efforts of so many North Dakotans across our great state, we are well-positioned to finish strongly even as we continue to watch out for potential hurdles in our path.
Since the beginning, we’ve taken a data-driven approach to this pandemic, with the dual goal of saving lives and livelihoods by protecting the most vulnerable, ensuring adequate hospital capacity and keeping our economy open and kids in school.
Our active case count is around 800, down from a peak of over 10,000 in mid-November, and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have decreased from over 300 in mid-November to around 40 today.
The state’s 14-day test positivity rate is under 3 percent, and our seven-day PCR test positivity rate ranked second lowest among all 50 states in this week’s White House report. We also ranked second lowest in the White House report in new cases per 100,000 population and lowest in new deaths per 100,000 population over the past week. North Dakota continues to rank among the top five states in testing per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University.
And, thanks to robust planning and partnerships at the state and local levels, we have consistently ranked in the top five states for vaccine doses administered as a percentage of doses received from the federal government. In total, more than 165,000 doses of lifesaving vaccine have been administered in the state.
It takes many people to achieve these results, starting with the frontline health care workers in our hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities and continuing with our educators, businesses, local public health units, law enforcement agencies, federal partners, local leaders including mayors and county commissioners, first responders and countless members of Team ND. Our Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Emergency Services, North Dakota National Guard and other agencies continue working together tirelessly to keep our state at the top of these leaderboards and heading in the right direction. We are deeply grateful for their outstanding efforts.
Continuous collaboration with legislative leadership and our state legislators, including the Emergency Commission and Budget Section, allocated over $1 billion in a way that positively impacted North Dakota citizens, schools, hospitals, businesses and all levels of state and local government.
North Dakota’s strong position – with our economy open, children in school and key COVID-19 metrics among the lowest in the country – is a testament to the fact that our well-tested emergency response systems and processes have met the challenge of the biggest health emergency in 100 years. This is a result of the wisdom of North Dakota’s founding fathers, the state’s constitution and elected leaders from decades past and present.
As new COVID-19 variants emerge, we remain full of gratitude for the collective vigilance and resiliency of our citizens, with a special thanks to those who have been vaccinated for helping us move closer to community immunity. As our state motto declares, we are “one and inseparable” – no matter how long the race.
Doug Burgum is the 33rd governor of North Dakota.