Sanford Health to open new coronavirus unit in Bismarck

Sanford Health is opening a new coronavirus care unit in Bismarck.

The 20-bed unit at the former Bismarck Surgical Associates building is expected to open next week, according to the health care system.

President Michael LeBeau says the $1 million facility is part of Sanford’s ‘surge’ plan.

“It is a wake-up call for us, and I think it should be a wake-up call for the community that the delivery of care is starting to get outside the norm,” LeBeau told the Bismarck Tribune.

In recent weeks, North Dakota has seen record numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The most recent state data on Tuesday showed Sanford had six available beds open including one in intensive care. LeBeau said the numbers can change “almost hourly.”

North Dakota health officials on Tuesday reported 304 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, down 28 from a daily record set Monday.

The state reported 26 new coronavirus-related deaths, increasing the total to 763 since the start of the pandemic. The death count is the eighth highest per capita in the nation, at nearly 100 deaths per 100,000 people.

North Dakota continued to rank first in the country for new cases per capita in the last two weeks. One in every 81 people in the state tested positive in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

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