KHRT ND News – 10/04/21

KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 100421 – 1200
 
MANDAN, ND – A Washburn man who was convicted of murdering four people in Mandan will be sentenced late this year. Chad Isaak will be sentenced for his quadruple murder convictions on December 28. Morton County Court documents say the hearing will happen at 8:30 am in a Mandan Courthouse. Isaak was found guilty in August after a 3-week trial on charges he murdered four RJR Maintenance and Management employees in Mandan. RJR co-owner Robert Fakler and employees William Cobb, Lois Cobb, and Adam Frueher were killed in the early morning hours of April 1st, 2019.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Passenger traffic at North Dakota’s eight commercial airports declined in August after a more robust July. North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director Kyle Wanner says July is historically one of the busiest months out of the year for air travel, so lower passenger numbers heading into the fall as leisure travel begins to slow down is not so surprising. About 82,400 passengers boarded planes in August, nearly double the same month last year, but well below the nearly 102,000 boardings in August 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Year-to-date boardings are ahead of the 2020 pace at all eight airports.
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BISMARCK, ND – Active cases of COVID-19 have dropped in North Dakota. Information from the Department of Health list 3,912 active cases today, a drop of 422 since Friday. Combined reports of Saturday, Sunday and today list 1,260 new positives and 1,790 new recoveries. Hospitalizations dropped by 14 to 147 on Saturday, but are up to 157 today, with 24 of those in ICU. There were 10 deaths over the weekend among those who tested positive (1621). Breakthrough numbers (those fully vaccinated) include 362 new positives since Friday (5619), 11 hospitalizations (254), and two deaths (36). Those age 12+ that are fully vaccinated in North Dakota stands at 51.4% (341,376), while adults fully vaccinated stands at 53.6% (322,675).
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Gov. Doug Burgum and health officials say that hospital capacity is reaching critical levels. And the are urging the public to take steps to help reduce hospitalizations, ranging from avoiding high-risk activities to practicing defensive driving to taking coronavirus precautions. The COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state surpassed 160 on Friday for the first time in nearly 10 months, and the percentage of staffed hospital beds in North Dakota that remained available fell below 10%. North Dakota’s six largest hospitals on Friday reported 43 patients have been sent to other facilities, sometimes hundreds of miles away.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 100421 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and chief medical officers and physicians from several of the state’s largest hospitals are warning that hospital capacity in North Dakota is reaching critical levels and urged the public to help reduce the need for hospitalization. “The pressure on hospitals and clinics in both our urban and rural areas is reaching critical levels, and we all need to do our part to avoid hospitalization and prevent further strain on these facilities and their staff as we work through this incredibly challenging time,” Burgum said.
 
North Dakota hospitals and health systems have seen a significant increase in acute health care needs over the past several months, and they anticipate this higher demand to continue for some time, said Dr. Richard Vetter, chief medical officer at Essentia Health in Fargo. The additional demand has led to increased delays in access to care, particularly in emergency rooms and inpatient settings, Vetter said, noting patients are being referred outside of their usual referral patterns – sometimes to facilities several hundred miles away. “We are concerned that as influenza numbers increase, this will also put additional strain on our health system,” Vetter said. “We strongly encourage everyone to consider receiving a flu shot in the next 1-2 months.”
 
Regional centers are currently unable to support critical access hospitals as they have in the past, and providers have seen adverse outcomes due to delays in care, said Dr. Chris Meeker, chief medical officer at Sanford Bismarck. Today North Dakota’s six largest hospitals reported 43 patients were deflected to other facilities, including six psychiatric patients; and 29 patients were waiting in emergency departments to be admitted to the hospital.
 
“Health systems across North Dakota face headwinds in caring for the people of our state. Our hospitals are at or above capacity, affecting care for all medical conditions. Physicians, nurses, and other vital frontline health care workers are doing heroic work caring for our communities despite shortages in staff and space,” Meeker said. “We have difficult times ahead, but I’m confident we’ll work together to see us through.”
 
Dr. Jeffrey Sather, chief of medical staff at Trinity Health in Minot, said the staffing shortage is the most daunting challenge facing hospitals. “The health care systems in our state and across the region are at the point of being overwhelmed,” Sather said. “We are above our capacity to provide the normal care we all expect. I am so proud of every employee for what they go through every day. We have been doing the best we can over the past 18 months. I am also proud of the collaboration between health systems working together through this pandemic to care for our fellow citizens.” “Now more than ever we need the help of everyone to reduce the strain on our health care systems by reducing the need for hospitalization,” Sather added.
 
Dr. Joshua Ranum, vice president of the North Dakota Medical Association and a physician at West River Health Services in Hettinger, said North Dakota was an early adopter of monoclonal antibody treatments that helped keep COVID-19 cases out of the hospital, but the current nationwide shortage of monoclonal antibodies is putting further strain on hospital capacity.
 
“Right now, stepping into a hospital in North Dakota is like stepping into an alternate reality,” Ranum said. “Our hospitals are at a redline capacity and will likely be that way for several more weeks. In stark contrast, one can move about the community almost normally, unaware of the chaos inside the hospital blocks away. We encourage all North Dakotans to get vaccinated, stay healthy, and stay safe in order to stay out of the hospital. It may be you or a loved one who desperately needs that hospital bed.”
 
The medical officials suggest several ways the public can help reduce hospitalizations:
 
– Avoid dangerous or high-risk activities that could cause serious injury.
– See your primary physician regularly and take care of your chronic health conditions.
– Make sure vaccinations are current for you and your children.
– Wash hands, social distance and wear a mask to help against all respiratory viruses.
– If you are sick with any respiratory virus, stay home and isolate to avoid infecting others.
– Practice defensive driving. There have been many recent high-trauma vehicle accidents in North Dakota. Obey traffic laws, use caution
in construction zones, avoid distracted driving, use seat belts and helmets, and don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
– Consider a telehealth option if you aren’t feeling well.
 
State leaders are working closely with hospital leaders to understand and support hospital capacity challenges. Meetings are held daily with chief medical officers and chief nursing officers from the six large hospitals to review numbers of med/surg, pediatric and ICU patients, deflections, transfers, patients in the emergency department, nurses sidelined and monoclonal antibody usage. A weekly meeting is also held with the six large hospitals and the State Health Officer to discuss capacity issues.
 
The North Dakota Department of Health’s (NDDoH) Department Operations Center (DOC) has added four ambulances to assist hospitals with the growing number of patient transfers. As supply chains are tightening, the DOC has supported hospitals with blood tubes and testing supplies. The DOC also manages the allocation and delivery of monoclonal antibodies to health care providers. In addition to the weekly federal allocation of monoclonal antibodies, the state has purchased 1,000 doses and is encouraging hospitals to do the same.
 
Currently, approximately 65 North Dakota National Guard members are on duty in support of the NDDoH to augment health care staff. To address the staffing shortage in health care facilities, State Health Officer Dr. Nizar Wehbi has extended the waiver for temporary nurse aid registration in North Dakota through Dec. 31, 2021. The NDDoH also continues to provide support for flu vaccinations and coordinate with long-term care facilities to make available more hospital capacity.
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SOLEN, N.D. (AP) – The Morton County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information about the vandalism and theft of road signs in south-central North Dakota, near the South Dakota border. Road crews on Thursday found that about 15 signs at intersections on a 6-mile stretch north of Solen had been run over or stolen. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says √°replacement of each sign costs about $250, and the vandalism also “causes a significant risk for motorists relying on those signs.” √°Damaging or stealing a sign is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Progress is being made on making the state Capitol in Bismarck more accessible to those who are physically disabled. State leaders have approved constructing new bathrooms and making other renovations to better accommodate wheelchairs. Over the next year, a meeting room will be made into three larger family restrooms which will be wheelchair accessible. There will also be wider doors installed for some meeting rooms. Contractors will be hired in the coming months and construction will start shortly thereafter.
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MINOT, ND – The Minot Police Department administered Tobacco Compliance Checks on Sunday to 33 licensed tobacco retailers in the city, with 28 retailers passing the check by refusing to sell tobacco products to underage volunteers. Five businesses did not pass. Police say this Tobacco Compliance Check was the first one administered since the ordinance change, this past August, raising the tobacco products age to 21-years in the City of Minot. Due to this recent change, the clerks found in violation, were informed of their error and issued written warnings. The license holders were also sent warning letters asking them to ensure their staff is fully aware of, and enforces the new age restrictions from here on. Future violations will result in penalties provided by ordinance.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Gov. Doug Burgum directed all government agencies to fly the U.S. and state flags at half-staff on Sunday in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service and Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in North Dakota. Burgum encouraged North Dakotans to do the same at their homes and businesses. The governor’s directive was in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Joe Biden, who proclaimed Oct. 3-9 as Fire Prevention Week. Burgum proclaimed Oct. 2-3 as Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in North Dakota, in recognition that volunteer and career firefighters place themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of North Dakotans.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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