Continue physical distancing during upcoming religious holidays


With religious holidays and celebrations right around the corner, it is critical to continue practicing physical distancing recommendations and avoid in-person gatherings. Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) Director Desi Fleming says, “Holidays are traditionally a time to gather with family and friends, but right now our community needs to stay home and stay apart in order to stay healthy. Even a short visit with those outside of your household can increase the risk of exposure.”

Fleming further states, “This time of year, many “snowbirds” are returning to the area. That group likely includes grandparents who are excited to connect with their children and grandkids. Given the statistics on increased risk for COVID-19 for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, it is so important for those returning to stay home and practice ongoing social distancing.” 

FCPH recognizes this alternative way of observing holidays and celebrations is a departure from traditional practice and may cause some to feel isolated and alone. If available, use technology to video chat with family and loved ones, whether in the same community or across the country. Many cell phones have the ability to conference in multiple callers. Review the user guide or contact your carrier to find out how. Also, check your place of worship’s website or social media channels to find options for virtual services.

On March 28, the State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte issued a confinement order directing individuals to quarantine for 14 days if traveling back to North Dakota from all international locations and states in the U.S. classified as having widespread disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The updated list of states can be found on the North Dakota Department (NDDoH) website at                                                                              

Additionally, any individual or returning resident (‘snowbirds’, spring-breakers, etc.) arriving in North Dakota from out-of-state is recommended to self-quarantine for a period of two weeks. All individuals affected by either the confinement order or self-quarantine recommendation are encouraged to complete the travel survey found on the NDDoH website to receive information on how to monitor for symptoms. 

While the number of positive cases of coronavirus continues to grow, basic prevention measures to slow community spread remain the same:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds particularly after touching any frequently used item or surface. If soap and water are not available, use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of 6 feet between you and others. This is especially important when conducting essential business such as shopping for groceries or picking up medication.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • If possible, work from home.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needing to seek medical care should contact their healthcare provider before arriving at the clinic. The North Dakota Department of Health’s online COVID-19 Risk Assessment Survey can also help determine if symptoms align with COVID-19.

For questions related to COVID-19, the North Dakota Department of Health hotline is available seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and can be reached at 1.866.207.2880.

Consult only reliable sources for information related to COVID-19: ND ResponseNorth Dakota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.