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The battle strategy against the Coronavirus has changed in North Dakota.

Earlier in the year, Gov. Doug Burgum unveiled a color-based risk level graph as a way to fight the pandemic in the state.

He now has changed to battle plan to make the risk-level tied to a specific county or region because of recent dramatic increases in positive tests for the virus.

The southwestern counties of Bowman, Slope, Adams and Hettinger are still at the green near normal class that they have been since the risk-level graph was released.

However, the hot spots in the state now have been changed to a more restrictive yellow level.

Of the state’s 53 counties, eight were moved to the yellow moderate level because those counties had more than 60 percent of the state’s active cases. Those counties were Barnes, Benson, Burleigh, Grand Forks, McLean, Morton, Stark and Williams.

 “We have learned a lot working this pandemic over the last five months,” the governor said Thursday, starting the press conference with praise for the effort of some people.  “Entrepreneurs and innovators are showing us that sometimes the new normal can be a better normal.”

North Dakota is one of group of Mid-Western states where the COVID-19 stats are on the increase, the governor explained.

“There are seven states now on the watch list for increased rates and for the first time since the pandemic began on the 14-day rolling we have got highest percent positives in the nation are showing up in the Midwest.

“This increase in the Midwest is showing up in the numbers here in North Dakota,” he explained, noting that there were 1,838 new cases in the previous seven days and a total of 2,437 confirmed active cases as of Sept. 3. The test positivity rate was 5.1 percent for the previous seven days with 68 people hospitalized.

The number of active cases in the state has almost doubled since mid-August and increased by about 500 since the previous week, he added.

“Over half the tests we are finding are asymptomatic, so we know we are doing a better job of identifying cases,” the governor said.

As of Sept. 3, Bowman County had three active cases, while Slope County had two and Adams County one. However, Hettinger County had 17 active cases. Golden Valley had six active cases, while Billings County had one.

Stark County had the highest number of active cases in the western portion of the state with a total of 254.

Other counties in the state had higher numbers, including Grand Forks County (491), Burleigh (408) and Cass County

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