AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
A big tip of the hat goes out this week to all North Dakotans who did their part in helping drive the state’s number of active COVID-19 cases to the lowest numbers that we have seen since mid-August. While there are those that may say that wearing masks don’t make a difference, it can be argued that since November when the governor imposed a statewide mask mandate, we have seen a steady decline in the number of active cases.
So to everyone who not only wore their masks, but followed all of the other safety precautions, kudos to you. By doing so, each and everyone did their part to help protect not only the state’s most vulnerable, but themselves as well.
As Gov. Doug Burgum noted on Friday, Jan. 15, when he announced that the statewide mask mandate would end on Monday, Jan. 18, there is now light at the end of the tunnel in North Dakota’s fight against the coronavirus. While other states are still seeing a resurgence in the virus, North Dakota has seen its number of active cases drop by 80 percent to 1,675. And more importantly, there are only 88 state residents who are currently hospitalized with the virus. Those are numbers that are the envy of many other states.
Another promising sign is that as the vaccine makes its way into North Dakota, our numbers should continue to hold steady or decline even further. Unfortunately, with North Dakota only receiving about 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine a week it is going to take a long time to provide everyone who wants to receive a shot to receive one.
The 10,000 doses a week don’t go very far in North Dakota. Nor does the 100 doses a week that the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, Inc. is receiving to vaccinate county residents. But every little bit is better than nothing.
Locally, now that the healthcare system has vaccinated 280 people, it is ready to provide its first mass vaccination event for residents who are 75 years of age and older on Thursday at the Watford City Civic Center. This vaccination event will be the first time that the vaccine is being offered to people other than healthcare and medical staff, emergency responders and long-term care residents.
And hopefully over the next months, the vaccine will start to be made available to others in the county.
But until then, even though we are no longer required to wear masks, please continue to follow appropriate safety precautions.