Fargo mayor: Holiday will test efforts to curb COVID-19

Associated Press

The mayor of Fargo said Monday that while North Dakota's most populous city and the state's COVID-19 hotspot is making progress in controlling spread of the coronavirus, a litmus test awaits with the July 4th holiday.

Many residents in Cass County, where Fargo is located, spend the holiday congregating in the lakes country of northwestern Minnesota. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney told The Associated Press that social distancing and other prevention practices could be a challenge.

"We are heading in the right direction, with the occasional hump here and there," Mahoney said, referring to active cases in the county. "Everybody is a little nervous now as more and more people are getting out and about. We'll find some things out after the 4th."

Health officials said Monday that Cass County reported 26 new COVID-19 cases, more than half of the positive tests statewide in the last day. The county has registered a total of 2,233 cases. There have been about 1,300 cases in the rest of the state combined.

The message from Mahoney, a doctor, is the same as most other leaders around the country: Wear a mask.

"I get a little flustered sometimes to be in public places and people are not wearing masks," he said. "Just because you are asymptomatic doesn't mean you might not be spreading it." 

A total of 47 people tested positive statewide in the last day. The number of hospitalizations has remained steady in recent weeks and stood at 25 on Monday. No new deaths were reported, keeping the number of fatalities at 79.

For most people, the 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.