The president and CEO of one of the nation's largest non-profit health systems says he won't be wearing a mask at work because he's recovered from COVID-19, and doing so would only be a "symbolic gesture" because he considers himself immune from the virus.
Kelby Krabbenhoft of South Dakota-based Sanford Health laid out his thoughts about having COVID-19, and why he wouldn't be wearing a mask, in an email sent to health system employees late Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 18, and obtained from multiple sources by Forum News Service.
Krabbenhoft said he is still experiencing "lagging coughs and fatigue," but told employees he was back in the office -- without a mask.
Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Fugleberg
Special to The Forum
With North Dakota leading the nation's surging COVID-19 outbreak, 60 medical personnel from the U.S. Air Force have been deployed to help relieve the state's hospital staffing crisis.
The team consists primarily of nurses and will divide into specialty units to assist staffs at medical centers in Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks. The relief effort comes after the Federal Emergency Management Agency fulfilled an aid request submitted by Gov. Doug Burgum, according to a press statement released Thursday, Nov. 19.
In addition to the military nurses, the Department of Health has contracted with a temporary staffing agency that will provide another 60 civilian nurses for work in hospitals and nursing homes beginning this weekend.
Read more from Forum News Service's Adam Willis
Lewis and Clark Elementary School para-educator Aalia Abdullah signs a steel beam planned for use in the school's expansion on Oct. 13 in Fargo, as students wait in the background. The teachers and children wore masks while awaiting their turns to sign. C.S. Hagen / The Forum
After some North Dakota school districts publicly said they will not enforce the new statewide mask mandate, the Department of Public Instruction is doubling down and saying schools must follow the order.
School districts are required to comply with state and federal laws, meaning the new order must be followed in school settings, according to Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction. The order, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, says all people in public indoor settings must wear a face-covering, and in outdoor settings when a social distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
Carolyn Eide, superintendent of Tioga Public Schools, said many students and teachers in the district do not wear masks in school. She said more than 60% of community members and teachers said in a recent survey they are not in favor of mandating masks in school. Eide's district in northwestern North Dakota has about 470 students.
Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith
North Dakota Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood. Forum News Service file photo
The North Dakota Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments Friday, Nov. 20, in the heated, three-way dispute over a House seat left vacant by the election of a candidate who has died from COVID-19. While the fate of the vacancy remains in the hands of the court, one side moved ahead Wednesday night, Nov. 18.
In a 17-1 vote, members of the District 8 Republic Party's Executive Committee appointed Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, to fill the vacancy created by the election of David Andahl, who died of COVID-19 on Oct. 5, but still received enough votes to win a House seat in the election.
District 8 GOP Chairman Loren DeWitz said the local Republican Party decided to move forward with plans that predated the legal battle over the seat.
Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis
Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, an infectious disease specialist at Trinity Health in Minot, N.D., has emerged as a leading voice of the state's medical community during the pandemic. Kyle Martin / The Forum
From his desk at Trinity Health in Minot, Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe sat at the center of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world.
Like most North Dakota cities, Minot passed through the spring and summer of the pandemic largely unconcerned about the virus that was tearing through distant and more densely populated regions of the country.
Still, Nwaigwe, an infectious disease specialist, worried from the time of the state’s first positive case of COVID-19, registered outside Minot in March, that his city in north-central North Dakota could be in for a long road.