BISMARCK, N.D. (NewsNation Now) — The Upper Midwest and Great Plains have emerged this week as the nation’s biggest hot spots.
The U.S. is approaching 7.6 million total cases of COVID-19. Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota now lead the country in cases per capita.
More that 3,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a single day for the first time in Wisconsin.
Health officials there said they plan to open a field hospital at the state fairgrounds next week to prevent health care centers from being overwhelmed.
In South Dakota, 536 new cases were reported on Thursday, with a state record of 14 new deaths.
South Dakota expects to receive 260,000 antigen tests from the federal government by the end of December to use for testing in schools and other areas, NewsNation affiliate KELOLAND Media Group reported.
In North Dakota, 531 new cases were reported on Thursday, the highest daily total so far in that state. This comes a day after North Dakota reported 24 new deaths from the virus. That’s triple the state’s previous single-day record.
North Dakota is reporting 770 new cases per 100,000 residents. That’s the highest rate in the U.S.
Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) said North Dakota would likely be entering its “darkest period for the state” related to COVID-19.
On Thursday, Burgum again rejected imposing a statewide mandate to wear masks and other actions, focusing instead on encouraging North Dakotans to take personal responsibility to help stop the virus, NewsNation affiliate KX News reported. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) has a similar stance.