Coronavirus Cases Expected To Rise Significantly in ND
FARGO, N.D. – Experts are hard at work trying to make sure the public is informed about the risks as they predict an uptick in cases here in North Dakota.
“I still hear some attitudes like ‘Look, this is not that much different then the flu’ It is different then the flu. The mortality rate for this is about ten times higher, and we don’t know the full potential of the attack rate yet, we just don’t know. We need to take those recommendations seriously, we need to practice this social distancing, and cross your fingers and say your prayers that we get some relief in the summer,” North Dakota State University Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Paul Carlson said.
Dr. Carson says following the recommendations of the CDC, such as social distancing and keeping non-essential personnel at home, will help flatten the curve and reduce the potential attack rate of the virus.
“Even at 19 or 20 percent, that’s still a substantial hit or burden on the healthcare system, but if you can stretch that out over two to three months instead of weeks, then yes, I think we can handle that,” Carson explained.
As new testing locations and more immediate test results come online, Dr. Carson predicts we will see a spike in cases, even with the significant efforts put forth by local and state officials to keep people at home.
“I think we are doing the right thing, and I think we are fortunately slightly more ahead of the curve then many other places in the US. Are we going to still see an uptick? Almost for sure. Just because our numbers are low, doesn’t mean that it’s not out there in the community more. We haven’t been as aggressively looking for it as we would like,” Carson said.
Dr. Carson believes new testing criteria will help bring forth the aggression needed to determine how many cases are really in the community.
“Previously, there were a lot of restrictions around who could or should be tested. It was things like people who had known direct contact with another person who had Coronavirus, or people who had traveled to high risk countries or areas where Coronavirus was circulating. As we get more evidence of local transmission, we want to move more towards getting people tested who have symptoms consistent with Coronavirus,” Carson said.
While elderly people and the immunocompromised are most at risk, the threat to the young and healthy is still serious, and the long term effects for survivors remain to be fully realized.
“This is rough, even for the people who survive it, the reports are of 3,4,5, or even 6 weeks in the hospital,” Carson said.
Dr. Carson expects the new testing criteria to go into effect shortly as more healthcare systems in the region get 24 hour testing operational.