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North Dakota has issued a mask mandate. Here’s why that’s a big deal

North Dakota had seen some of the highest numbers of COVID-19. Now, a mask mandate could help the state.

A scout for the Las Vegas Raiders watches Central Arkansas play North Dakota State at an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota State won 39-28.
A scout for the Las Vegas Raiders watches Central Arkansas play North Dakota State at an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota State won 39-28.
AP

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has issued a statewide mask mandate after becoming one of the states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, The Associated Press reports.

  • Burgum previously resisted a mask mandate and limiting gatherings, according to the AP.
  • Instead, Burgum suggested people take personal responsibility to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Key quote:

“Our situation has changed, and we must change with it.” — Burgum

Some extra context:

North Dakota led the The New York Times list of states where new cases are higher and had a daily average of 15 cases per 100,000 people as recent as last week, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • More than 60,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Dakota since the beginning of the pandemic, which means 1 in 13 residents in the state have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to TwinCities.com.
  • In fact, that number is big enough to equal the size of North Dakota’s third largest city. That’s right. An entire city’s worth of people for North Dakota has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Dr. Paul Carson, an infectious disease physician who teaches public health at North Dakota State University, told TwinCities.com the state’s plan for testing and contact tracing worked well in the beginning of the pandemic when cases were low. Now, it’s ballooned too much to handle.