BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Dec. 3, recorded five additional COVID-19 deaths and an increase in the number of residents hospitalized due to the illness.

More states are beginning to identify cases of the omicron variant, including Minnesota, Colorado, California, New York and Hawaii, according to The New York Times. Much is still unknown about the omicron variant, but its high number of mutations indicates it could be more transmissible.

Although scientists are still researching to fully understand the severity of the omicron variant, the North Dakota Department of Health is encouraging people to take pandemic precautions and seek COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES REPORTED FRIDAY, DEC. 3: 531
  • ACTIVE CASES: 3,392
  • DAILY POSITIVITY RATE: 6.58%
  • TOTAL KNOWN CASES THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 164,088
  • TOTAL RECOVERED THROUGHOUT PANDEMIC: 158,784
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The state's 14-day rolling average positivity rate was 7.67% as of Thursday, Dec. 2.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 177

  • DEATHS: 5

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,912

Among the North Dakotans who have been hospitalized this week due to COVID-19, nearly 75% were not fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 391,242 (58.4% of population ages 12 and up)

  • FULL VACCINE COVERAGE: 370,090 (55.3% of population ages 12 and up)

  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 122,351

The Department of Health encourages individuals to get information about vaccines at www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator.

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Readers can reach reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.