Grand Forks County COVID-19 figures have risen since July

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the county has risen from 14 in mid-July to 235 as of Sept. 12, the most recent date for which the North Dakota Department of Health had published data as of Tuesday morning. In that same span, the percentage of tests that have come back positive in a given week has risen from 0.76% to about 6%.

Michael Dulitz, the local health department’s head COVID-19 data analyst, had a simple explanation.

“Delta variant,” he said plainly, referring to the more contagious version of the virus.

The type of tests coming back positive gives an indication of the virus’ spread, too: “antigen” tests, which deliver results more quickly than the “polymerase chain reaction” tests that were commonplace at the outset of the pandemic, have more frequently come back positive since mid-summer.

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People who need to be tested frequently — health workers and NCAA athletes, for instance — generally get antigen tests.

“That’s our closest surveillance test that we have right now,” Dulitz said. “And we’re seeing a steady increase in positivity of

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