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ND daily virus death toll triples previous high

FARGO (AP) — North Dakota set a grim record on Wednesday as health officials reported 24 more deaths from COVID-19, which was three times as many as the state recorded on any other day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the deaths were five people from Morton County, which officials had been worried about because of a recent outbreak in a long-term care facility. There were deaths reported in 11 counties, including six with more than one fatality.

“The reported number of deaths today is heartbreaking,” said Nicole Peske, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health. “Unfortunately, the deaths and the increase in cases in long-term care are a direct reflection of what’s happening in the community.”

Unlike many states, North Dakota does not require people to wear masks in public. It has had a surge in cases in recent months and has had the most new cases, per capita, of any state over the past two weeks, when its positivity rate of roughly 7% also exceeded the national average of less than 5%, according to The COVID Tracking Project.