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North Dakota: Latest updates on Coronavirus

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Last updated March 16 at 11:20 p.m. ET.

As of March 16, North Dakota had tested 149 people for COVID-19, finding one positive case — a man in his 60s from Ward County. That man had recently traveled to the East Coast, according to Inforum, a news site based in Fargo. The health department is currently monitoring 25 people to see if they develop symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Gov. Doug Burgum declared a state of emergency on Friday (March 13) due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then, on Saturday, he brought together members of the newly formed COVID-19 Unified Command. The committee is being led by Mylynn Tufte, the state health officer, and the North Dakota National Guard adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The group has brought in several other members and leaders of the community and state to make plans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. These stakeholders included: health care workers, business leaders, religious organizations, K-12 educators, tribal partners, among others, the Tribune reported.

On March 16, Gov. Burgum ordered the closing of all K–12 schools in the state for the week through March 20, he said in a statement, explaining that the situation will be reassessed at that time. 

Tufte, the state health officer, explained why the schools were closing despite only one COVID-19 case in the state. “Closing K-12 education is a proactive and aggressive approach to minimize community spread,” Tufte said in the statement. “What we’ve learned this weekend from our medical advisors is that we need more time to ‘flatten the curve’ to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we don’t overwhelm the health care system.

The state department has more information about school closures, including continuing school meals and how to handle special education.

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Originally published on Live Science. 

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