Richland County, North Dakota, reported zero new and zero active COVID-19 cases Friday, June 25, marking the first time in more than a year that there were no local active cases.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and readily available, Richland County Public Health reminds individuals. As the county approaches 60 percent first and up-to-date coverage rates, officials are continuing to promote their anti-coronavirus campaign.
The single-dose Johnson & Johnson and double-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are in stock, said Kayla Carlson, director of Richland County’s health department. Most vaccine clinics include either the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccines.
“We’re offering Pfizer because it’s available to a wider population, as young as age 12,” Carlson said. “We’re offering Johnson & Johnson, because some people prefer having a one-and-done experience. Moderna is available, but it’s usually kept at our office rather than available at the mobile clinics.”
Vaccine clinics have been held at and near community gathering spaces including the Wahpeton Event Center, the Richland Wilkin Food Pantry in Wahpeton, Hot Cakes Café in Hankinson, North Dakota, Dakota Magic Casino outside Hankinson and area high schools. The health department, located at 413 Third Ave. N. in Wahpeton, has also introduced “Walk-In Wednesdays.”
“We’re holding clinics at our office from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. for at least the next few Wednesday. We are seeing a good uptick of participation, which is nice to see. We’re also trying to do at least one mobile clinic per week,” Carlson said.
The state of North Dakota reported 22 new COVID-19 cases, 27 recoveries and 170 active cases on Friday. Twenty-four of the state’s 53 counties had confirmed active COVID-19 cases. Burleigh County, North Dakota, led with 34 active cases, followed by Cass County, North Dakota, with 28 active cases.
Data came one day after the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) confirmed the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in at least one case.
Vaccination continues to be stressed as a means against COVID-19. As of Friday, Richland County reported 7,002 individuals, or 57.9 percent of the county’s ages 18 and older population, had received one dose of vaccine. A total of 6,759 individuals, or 55.9 percent of the adult population, were up-to-date with their vaccinations.
Statewide, 301,604 adult North Dakotans, or 50.6 percent, have received one dose as of Friday. A total of 285,285 individuals, or 47.8 percent of adults, were up to date. Herd immunity, defined by the Mayo Clinic as when a full community is protected, is approximately reached when 70 percent or higher of a population is protected.
COVID-19 activity continues to vary among age groups. The 30-39 age group had 38 active cases Friday, NDDoH reported. This was followed by the 20-29 age group, with 33 active cases. By comparison, the 70-79 age group had four active cases.
Walk-in and mobile clinics are seeing a diverse number of participants, Carlson said. There’s been an increase of youth vaccine recipients, whose numbers are not yet included among NDDoH’s reporting dashboards. Older individuals also continue to be vaccinated.
“I think we’re still seeing some relief from people. They’re happy to get back out into the public after being vaccinated. We’re still promoting caution, of course,” Carlson said.
Carlson, like other health professionals, continues to monitor new guidelines. It is possible, she said, that younger populations will soon be permitted to receive the Pfizer vaccine. For example, ages 2-11 by September and ages 6 months-1 year by December.
“I know there is a little vaccine hesitancy,” Carlson said. “We’ve found, though, that we aren’t seeing major side effects. The reporting system in the event of any issues — like what briefly happened with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine — is effective. We are catching anything that happens and we’ve been vaccinating now for more than six months.”
For more information, call the Richland County Health Department at 701-642-7735. Daily News will continue to follow this story.