By Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s per capita death count from the coronavirus rose from 12th-highest in the U.S. to fifth in just six weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The state’s death count has gone from 75 deaths per 100,000 people to 146 deaths during that time, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The state Department of Health on Friday reported 27 new deaths, 12 of which were from November due to a reporting lag. The statewide death toll since the pandemic began now stands at 1,130.

Department officials on Friday confirmed 513 new cases of the coronavirus.

North Dakota had for many weeks led the country in the number of virus outbreaks compared with population.

The state now ranks fourth, with 1,350 new cases per 100,000 people in North Dakota over the past two weeks. One in every 136 people in North Dakota tested positive in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday extended an executive order that requires people to wear masks and limits the size of gatherings until next month, but allows high school sports to resume next week.

The Republican had resisted such an order until last month, relenting after increased pressure from doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to stem a coronavirus surge that is among the worst in the U.S. and that has distressed the state’s hospitals.

The state update showed 277 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a decrease of 25. The state’s hospital tracker reported 22 staffed intensive care unit beds and 258 staffed inpatient beds available in North Dakota.

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