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North Dakota entering 2nd phase of vaccine priority groups



BISMARCK, N.D. — The elderly and people with underlying health conditions in North Dakota are beginning to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine doses as the state enters the second phase of vaccine priority groups, health officials said.

Sanford Health Bismarck on Thursday began vaccinating some of its patients eligible for the next phase. Jim Wheeler received his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a Sanford vaccination clinic and called it “a piece of cake.”

Sanford Health Fargo is scheduled to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine Friday. Fargo Cass Public Health officials say they’re expecting to begin distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

The state Health Department on Thursday reported 248 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 95,378 since the start of the pandemic. The lab processed 9,471 tests, for a daily positivity rate of 3%.

Officials confirmed eight deaths in the last day, increasing the total number of fatalities to 1,365. The death count is the seventh highest per capita at 180.5 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.