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COVID-19 Update

By Staff | May 1, 2020

Pierce County testing numbers up

While testing numbers have increased, Pierce County’s amount of positive tests for and amount of people who have recovered from COVID-19 both remain unchanged.

As of Thursday morning according to the North Dakota Department of Health’s coronavirus webpage, Pierce County has had 58 tests for COVID-19. Since March, the county has had only two confirmed positive tests, both of whom have also been reported as having recovered.

Other nearby counties have also seen increases in testing.

Benson County has had 351 tests done as of Thursday morning, all negative. Bottineau County had 113 tests, all negative. Towner County had 36 tests, all negative. Sheridan County had 22 tests, all negative.

McHenry County had completed 101 tests, and of that total only one was positive. Rolette County had 164 tests completed with only one positive test. Wells County had 203 tests completed, with two positive tests.

Statewide, North Dakota had 1,067 positive cases and 26,393 negative tests as of 11 a.m. Thursday. North Dakota had 19 COVID-19 deaths, 85 total hospitalizations and 458 recoveries.

State releases phase one re-opening guidelines

Businesses either completely or partially closed in response to COVID-19 were allowed to re-open Friday after the first phase of ND Smart Restart guidelines were released earlier this week.

The guidelines recommend distancing, cleaning and other procedures for bars, restaurants, salons, gyms and other sectors. Guidelines for recreational and athletic facilities are yet to be released.

Included recommendations for personal care businesses (hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, etc.) are to develop check-in processes and set up a waiting area that accommodates distancing; increase space between work stations, if necessary; have employees wear face masks at all times and other personal protective equipment as necessary; encourage clients to wear face masks; develop enhanced cleaning procedures and adjust appointment times for enhanced cleaning between customers; have employees wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds between customers and offer hand sanitizer to customers. Personal care businesses are also encouraged to keep daily records of employees and close contacts and use appointment systems unless walk-in systems can be used safely.

Included recommendations for fitness centers are to limit group fitness classes to one participant and staff per 144 square feet; limit saunas, jacuzzis, steam rooms, etc. to one person per 100 square feet; discontinue group sports where more than 10 people play at the same time; omit fitness classes with high inhaling and exhaling air exchange; provide a minimum six feet of distance between fitness equipment edges; manage customer entry points and close gathering areas where groups larger than 10 people can gather; and suspend 24-hour facility use.

Bars are to not allow patrons to stand in the establishment; and to allow seating for one to two guests, with six feet of separation. Blackjack tables inside of bars are to remain closed, and any gaming machines must have either a minimum distance of six feet or be placed out of service. Dance floors are also closed.

Included guidelines for food service establishments are to limit seating at tables to 10 per table; limit capacity to half of normal operating capacity and allow for six feet of space between groups; not allow drink refills unless served in a clean unused glass or cup; have menus be on single-use paper or on materials that can be sanitized; not to allow self-service condiments; hand any otherwise self-service cups, straws or lids to customers; and restaurants are to close for a minimum of four hours daily to deep clean.

Movie theaters are to limit capacity to 20 percent of normal; keep at least two empty seats between parties in any row and alternate rows by closing every other row; mark lines and waiting areas to meet social distancing standards; limit group sizes to 10 people; encourage contactless payment or place a barrier between staff and customers or require cloth facemasks; stagger show start times by at least 30 minutes to decrease congestion in common areas; minimize standing in the lobby by allowing early auditorium access; to not allow drink/popcorn refills unless served in clean unused containers; no self-service condiments; no self-services cups, straws or lids allowed; remove or block lobby seating to discourage congregating; clean and disinfect high touch surfaces between showings; provide wipes for patrons to wipe their armrests, cupholders or seats upon arrival.

Full lists of guidelines can be found on the internet at ndresponse.gov/covid-19-resources/covid-19-business-and-employer-resources/nd-smart-restart/nd-smart-restart-protocols?fbclid=IwAR3WuhwPOWW4x6-ELFG1H-mg8d5nlF0pBFdIlPZmrUNaaATjtpfIuI0TcfQ.

– Tribune Staff Report

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