‘Please stay home for Thanksgiving’

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.

With the possibility for countless COVID-19 superspreading events over the Thanksgiving holiday, North Dakota government and health leaders are urging responsibility and empathy.

“We want to slow the spread of this cruel virus and save lives and livelihoods,” Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., said during a Friday, Nov. 20 press conference.

Guest speakers included Dr. Josh Ranum of West River Health Services in Hettinger, North Dakota and Dr. Bill Heegaard, president of Essentia Health’s West Market. The doctors did not mince words.

“(Recent) measures will help to rein in the out of control prairie fire that COVID has become in our state. We need to get back to flattening the curve. Our health systems are nearly overrun,” Dr. Ranum said.

A few moments later, Ranum begged the public to stay home for Thanksgiving.

“I know this is a huge ask for a major holiday, especially the way that 2020 has gone. Travel, though, can create many new pockets of infection,” he said.

It is possible, according to healthcare officials, for a person to expose everyone at a holiday gathering to COVID-19 long before he or she shows any signs of the disease.

“Please sacrifice this holiday season so that you can enjoy future holiday seasons together as a family,” Ranum said.

North Dakota announced Thursday, Nov. 19 that approximately 60 U.S. Air Force medical personnel will assist in COVID-19 response after FEMA granted the state’s request for federal assistance.

The personnel are primary nurses, including critical care nurses, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reported. At least six hospitals in four cities, including Essentia Health and Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota, will receive support.

“The teams will deploy Saturday (Nov. 21) and are expected to start work at the hospitals next week in coordination with NDDoH. The Air Force nurses will join the 167 nurses who are part of the NDDoH COVID Response Team,” the department stated.

Daily News will continue following this story and the COVID-19 pandemic in North Dakota and Minnesota.

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