North Dakota governor will allow nurses who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic to keep working as understaffed hospitals reach capacity amid a spike in cases
- North Dakota Gov Dough Burgum said Monday that health care workers who tested positive for COVID have no symptoms should be allowed to stay on job
- The move is part of an effort to ease stress on both hospitals and medical personnel as hospitals in the state reach capacity
- There are 11 staffed intensive care beds and 203 staff inpatient beds available statewide, according to data updated Monday afternoon
North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum said Monday that health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms will be allowed to stay on the job to alleviate staffing concerns at hospitals that have reached capacity.
The move is part of an effort to ease the stress both on hospitals and medical personnel trying to keep up with skyrocketing cases.
There are 11 staffed intensive care beds and 203 staff inpatient beds available statewide, according to data updated Monday afternoon.
The governor said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been allowing infected workers without symptoms to keep working as long as they take precautionary measures.
Scroll down for video
North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum (pictured) said Monday that health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms should be allowed to stay on the job
In a tweet on Monday, Burgum said the request for asymptomatic nurses to continue working came from the state’s hospitals.
‘As requested by hospitals to address staffing, a State Health Officer order will allow asymptomatic, COVID-positive health care workers to work in the COVID unit of a licensed facility, so long as precautions are taken as recommended by the CDC,’ Burgum wrote.
The state is also looking to increase rapid testing of healthcare workers to ‘keep them in the game,’ the governor said.
The governor said leaders from the six major hospitals in the state will meet daily to discuss hospital space and staffing, with the likelihood of shifting nurses and other medical personnel even ‘among competitors if necessary’.
Some hospitals will also be suspending some elective surgeries, he said.
Burgum also said that every county in the state has been declared at high risk, which means that businesses will be limited to 25 per cent capacity with a cap of 50 people and no standing room allowed. He added that masks ‘should be required’.
The state is also looking to increase rapid testing of healthcare workers to ‘keep them in the game,’ the governor said
The governor said leaders from the six major hospitals (Essentia Health pictured on October 25) in the state will meet daily to discuss hospital space and staffing, with the likelihood of shifting nurses and other medical personnel
The edict comes on a day when 14 more patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19 to increase the record number of people being treated in medical facilities to 254.
Burgum said that while people may disagree on the effects of the virus, ‘the one thing that is not debatable is that our hospitals are under enormous pressure’.
The state confirmed 1,160 new virus cases since Sunday, lifting the total to nearly 55,500 since the start of the pandemic.
There were 2,182 new cases per 100,000 people in North Dakota over the past two weeks, which ranks first in the country for new cases per capita, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported.
The death toll stands at 644, including five fatalities in the last day.
North Dakota has climbed to 10th overall in the number of deaths per capita in the last two weeks.
Cass County, which includes Fargo, and Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had a combined 430 cases since Sunday.
The two counties have accounted for more than 20,000 of the state’s cases.