Virus hospitalizations fall as state fixes computer glitch

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota health officials on Wednesday reported a dramatic drop in hospitalizations because of the coronavirus, due mostly to finding and fixing a computer glitch.

The state Department of Health said in a release that the adjustment was made after officials resolved a problem with the flow of data in the last week from caseworkers to the state’s reporting system. The result was a drop from 88 hospitalizations to 55.

The last time hospitalizations were that low was late August.

The state's hospital tracker shows there are 48 staffed intensive care unit beds and 381 staffed inpatient beds available in North Dakota. There are 26 staffed ICU beds that are open at Fargo's three hospitals.

The update showed 158 new positive COVID-19 tests and one new death in the last day, increasing the totals to 96,222 cases and 1,387 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in the state has decreased by nearly 34%, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. One in every 689 people in North Dakota tested positive in the past week.

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.