The North Dakota Department of Health reached a milestone in testing for COVID-19. The health department announced Saturday, June 6, it had conducted 4,034 tests for COVID-19, meeting Gov. Dough Burgum's daily testing goal for the first time.

Burgum stated that North Dakota would aim to conduct at least 4,000 tests per day by the end of May. Saturday's report marks the first time the state met the mark. Previously, Burgum had cited a lack of demand for the state's inability to reach the goal before the end of May, leading state officials to consider relaxing the criteria for receiving a test.

North Dakota is among the top states in the nation in per-capita testing, ranking only behind Rhode Island and New York. Roughly half of those tested Friday had been previously tested. North Dakota's positive rate for the illness is 2.52%.

The department announced one new death Saturday, a male in his 90s from Cass County with underlying health conditions. Seventy-two individuals have died following a positive test for COVID-19, though 16 deaths are still pending records or do not list COVID-19 as the primary cause of death.

The state added 71 positive cases, of which 46 are from Cass County. Burleigh County reported six new cases, while Jamestown's Stutsman County added five new cases. Richland and Barnes counties each tallied three new cases, while two cases were recorded in Ward and Wells counties. Benson, LaMoure, Sheridan and Walsh counties each added one new case.

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Cass County, the state's most populous area, accounts for two-thirds of all known COVID-19 cases in the state. Presently, there are 390 known active cases in Cass County, representing 0.21% of the county population. Statewide, active cases represent 0.06% of the population.

Minnesota

State health officials reported 526 cases and 22 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, June 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The state now has 27,501 confirmed cases and 1,170 deaths from the illness.

The new numbers come on the heels of the announcement by Gov. Tim Walz on Friday of Phase III of his Stay Safe MN plan. The change turns up the dials toward more permitted gatherings, up to a maximum allowable size of 250 people.

As part of the change, beginning Wednesday, June 10, restaurants and bars will be able to serve food indoors provided they do not surpass 50% capacity, with salons and places of worship also allowed to operate up to 50% capacity.

Also under this easing of restrictions, for the first time since March, the state will allow indoor performance spaces, gyms and recreational centers to operate, albeit at 25% capacity.

The changes come as health officials highlighted a consistent slowing of the new case rate, while also expressing concerns about the possibility of a second wave in a few weeks due to the mass gatherings now underway. Testing is rising in the state, while case counts are plateauing or modestly declining.

Earlier in the week, health officials advised all those who had attended gatherings to seek testing, and an influx of people getting tested is now being reflected in the state's testing activity. The state on Saturday reported 11,144 new tests, a continuation of three days in which over 38,000 Minnesotans were tested for the virus.

The state also reported 40 new cases in Rice County on Saturday, and 36 in Mower County.

Statewide, the distribution of cases continues to span counties large and small. New graphics recently distributed by the state health department, however, show that while total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 are concentrated in the metro and in communities along the Interstate 94 north, per capita, the illness is striking outstate and especially southern Minnesota much harder than the greater metro.

South Dakota

South Dakota added 90 residents to the total of those known to have caught COVID-19, as ongoing strong testing continued, the state Department of Health reported Saturday, June 6.

South Dakota's key measures of active cases and hospitalizations continue to stay roughly flat, welcome news in a time when the state was originally forecast to be facing a surge of the virus.

There are 1,029 South Dakotans now sick with COVID-19, down three from Friday and 32 below the 14-day average. There are 93 South Dakotans now hospitalized with the virus, up 10 from Friday. The highest single daily tally of hospitalizations was 106 on May 26. Sixty-five state residents have died due to the virus. The state reported no new known fatalities on Saturday.

Wisconsin

A total of 20,571 positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wisconsin on Saturday, June 6, according to the state Department of Health Services. That's an increase of 322 cases from Friday. Twelve more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 645 as of Saturday.

Around the region

  • The North Dakota Health Department announced Saturday, June 6, that the hours for its public health hotline will be altered. Effective immediately, the hotline will be available Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 1,863,656 cases of the illness in the United States, with 108,064 deaths recorded.

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