Governor: North Dakota hospital reaching critical capacity

BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and health officials said Friday that hospital capacity is reaching critical levels and urged residents to take action to help ease the crisis.

State officials are urging the public to take steps to help reduce hospitalizations, ranging from avoiding high-risk activities to practicing defensive driving to taking coronavirus precautions.

The Bismarck Tribune reports COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state surpassed 160 on Friday for the first time in nearly 10 months, and the percentage of staffed hospital beds in North Dakota that remained available fell below 10%.

“We all need to do our part to avoid hospitalization and prevent further strain on these facilities and their staff as we work through this incredibly challenging time,” Gov. Doug Burgum said.

Hospital capacity has been a concern the past couple of months because of the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. The 161 patients listed on the Health Department’s virus dashboard Friday was the most since mid-December.

The most recent state data showed 214 available staffed inpatient beds and 15 available intensive care unit beds statewide

North Dakota’s six largest hospitals on Friday reported 43 patients have been sent to other facilities, sometimes hundreds of miles away.