Things are not looking good for North Dakota as far as the pandemic goes. We are headed towards the "Critical" level on the North Dakota Smart Restart scale. If we hit that level, will places like restaurants, bars, and stores be forced to close again?

According to KFYR-TV, on Tuesday (October 27), there was a positive COVID-19 rate of 14.8%. There is an asterisk next to the number that indicates, "Rate based on 'susceptible test encounters.' True rate based on all testing = 13.8%. Now, I must confess, I am not entirely sure what the asterisk means by "susceptible test encounters,' but the percentage numbers are still ugly as far as the North Dakota Smart Restart program goes.

Why are those percentages ugly? Because our state is close to moving to the "Red/ Critical" level on the restart scale. North Dakota was (kind of) shut down last time we were on that level. Could that happen to us a second time?

It is possible, and actually likely that we will hit level "Red/ Critical" again, but I am not entirely sure that would mean another shutdown for everyone except "essential workers." I mean, just a couple of weeks ago, we were moved to "Orange/ High-Risk," and the protocol was changed in order to try to keep the North Dakota people and economy up and running.

Do you think North Dakota should implement an ENFORCED mask mandate or do you think that the choice should still be left up to personal choice?

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