Today's briefing on  COVID-19 Response is a big one because it was actually supposed to be held yesterday, but was suddenly rescheduled. So, people have been wondering if we are in for a big announcement today. I am slightly anxious about what Governor Doug Burgum has to say.

He starts out by saying that we in North Dakota have a lot to be grateful for. He mentions school being back in session and the upcoming harvest season. So, he's starting out on a fairly light note. He even told us to enjoy the holiday weekend and remember to be "North Dakota Smart." I hope that means he's not going to drop something shocking next...

The Governor talked for over 20 minutes and without dropping any bombshells on us. Why won't he get to the point? People we getting antsy in the comments (I was watching on Facebook). Ok, here goes...

Governor Burgum announced that rather than assessing the risk level in the state as a whole, North Dakota counties will be assessed individually to determine the risk level. So, some counties have shifted from green to either blue or yellow. Check out the list below:

BLUE - Lowest risk, at a state of "new normal"

  1. Billings
  2. Cavalier
  3. Divide
  4. Foster
  5. Griggs
  6. Lamoure
  7. McIntosh
  8. Mercier
  9. Nelson
  10. Renville
  11. Trail
  12. Walsh
  13. Wells

YELLOW - Moderate Risk

  1. Barnes
  2. Benson
  3. Burleigh
  4. Grand Forks
  5. McLean
  6. Morton
  7. Stark
  8. Williams

The other counties in North Dakota will remain green for now. 

Even though some counties are moving up on the risk level scale, Governor Burgum is not mandating anything. Instead, they are putting the responsibility into the hands of local leadership and the communities to follow guidelines set by the state. The new risk levels will be in effect at 5:00 PM on Friday (September 4).

But there's more - EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

  • Medical mannequins will now be used instead of live patients for students in dental school exams.
  • Interim substitute teachers can remain in classroom beyond limitation of 10 days. Basically, they can help make up for staffing shortages.

North Dakota also got a federal grant to help address and fight opiod drug addiction and Dr. Paul Marini was named at the new state health officer.

Governor Burgum did also talk about FEMA approving North Dakota for the Lost Wages Assistance Program for $300 per week to help those who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

Ok, so there was nothing really to worry about. It looks like we don't have to worry about any drastic changes at this point.