Guest Editorial: Working together, we can achieve a safe ND Smart Restart
April 27, 2020
Since this historic journey began with the first case of COVID-19 being confirmed in North Dakota on March 11, we have learned much about this insidious disease. We have learned that it spreads quickly and without regard for borders. We have learned that it takes loved ones too soon and disrupts livelihoods too often, leaving behind a wake of emotional and economic hardship.
We have also learned much about ourselves.
In the six weeks since I challenged all of us to let go of being "North Dakota tough" and embrace being "North Dakota smart," you have answered the call. Today we have one of the lowest COVID-19 positive test rates in the nation, an exceptionally low number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and one of the highest per-capita testing rates in the country.
In every county, every tribal nation and every corner of our state, you have demonstrated the power of individual responsibility in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. You have shown tremendous resolve and resilience in response to our targeted, pragmatic approach to this pandemic, and your actions have literally saved lives.
To our health care workers, for their courage and heroism on the front lines of this war against an invisible enemy, we extend our undying gratitude and respect. To the North Dakota businesses that have innovated and adapted to survive while also supporting their employees –those displaced and those who kept working – you have our deepest thanks for paving the way to the new normal.
And for all of you and the immeasurable and often painful sacrifices you have made thus far – forgoing family gatherings and funerals, closing businesses, missing birthday parties and other milestones, guiding our K-12 and college students through distance learning – you have made a profound difference in the lives of your fellow citizens, and for this we are immensely grateful.
As we brace ourselves for the likelihood that this virus will continue to cause disruption for weeks, months, perhaps even years, we remain steadfast in our resolve to fight for every life and every livelihood.
That's what North Dakota Smart Restart is all about.
Working together – as North Dakotans do better than anyone during a crisis – we can continue to reduce the risk to the general public and especially our most vulnerable populations. And in doing so, we can thoughtfully restart those limited sectors of our economy that were restricted as we fought to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure hospital capacity to handle any surge in cases.