North Dakota has been hit by a dramatic spike in positive COVID test results and fatalities, which has catapulted the Peace Garden State to the top of the national outbreak.

And Bowman County has been hit harder, even though it has less than half of one percent of the state’s population

According to state statistics, North Dakota has a population of slightly more than 760,000 while the county has barely more than 3,000 people.

Bowman County has hit a high of 13.59 percent in the 14-day rolling percentage of positivity on Saturday, Oct. 17.

The state had a positivity rate of 8.9 percent for the same period.

By comparison, Gov. Doug Burgum has stated that when the state had a positivity rate under five percent that it was handling the pandemic well.


Just a day apart, two county residents joined the list of state fatalities attributed to the pandemic. They also were the first in the county. One was a woman in her 70s and the second was a man in his 60s. By Saturday, the state total had climbed to 404 fatalities so far this year.

New positives

At the county level, according to the statistics released Saturday, Bowman County had four new positives out of 11 tests processed. Three of the new positives had previously had a negative result.

The test results announced Saturday show a county positivity rate of 36.36 percent with three people announced as having recovered from the virus. For six of those tested it was the first time they had been tested.

Bowman County has a cumulative daily positivity rate of 8.87 percent for the year, with a total of 2,699 tests processed and 100 showing positive. Fifty-nine of the 100 positives had previously tested negative before getting a positive response.

The county has had 62 recover so far this year from the virus.

The county spike has skyrocketed in October, from 12 active positives on Oct. 1 and was a low of 9 on Oct. 6. Since then, it has quadrupled to 36 by Saturday, Oct. 17.

Of the 2,699 total tests so far this year, 1,127 were of unique individuals according to statistics released by the state.

The risk assessment level of Bowman County was recently increased to yellow (moderate).

For some of the businesses in Bowman, the use of masks is required for customers and signs are posted on the doors.

According to the state’s Director of Disease Control Kirby Kruger the health department considers three factors before determining risk levels in a county:

•The number of active cases per 10,000 residents per county

•Number of tests per 10,000 residents

•The test positivity rate per county   

In addition, those three factors are considered in 14-day rolling averages to determine the incubation period for the virus.

Although the county had been at the second level according to risk assessment since the system began, it has increased to the higher risk level of yellow (moderate level) with the recent spike in area positives.

Bowman County is surrounded by several counties still at the less restrictive green level (Billings, Slope, Hettinger and Adams).

But several counties in the western part of the state have increased to the ‘high’ risk orange level (Golden Valley, Stark, Dunn, McKenzie, Williams, Mountrail, McLean, Morton and Sioux).

Those counties in the high risk category means that restaurants and bars will be restricted to no more than 50 people and just 25 percent capacity.

Under the new guidelines, which took effect Friday, Oct. 16, there would be no business closures required.


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