The Cavalier County Commissioners held a Special Meeting on November 18, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Governor Burgum's November 13 Executive Order on COVID and a resolution passed by Dickey County commissioners opposing the Governor’s Order. The resolution was shared with the five Cavalier County commissioners prior to the special meeting so they could be prepared for the discussion. Chair Nick Moser read the resolution aloud and then asked each commissioner to comment, followed by Public Health and other community leaders present for the discussion.
Commissioners Stanley Dick, Greg Goodman, Austin Lafrenz, and Moser were in favor of sending a resolution to the governor’s desk opposing the order for various reasons. Commissioner David Zeis stated he did not support any resolution going against the governor’s order.
Public Health Nurse Steph Welsh spoke in favor of the Governor’s order and said she wished it had come months ago. She said the governor gave a wide berth for a very long time and strongly urged the commissioners not to fight it. She agreed there are a lot of things we do well, and she appreciates the number of good things happening. As we enter into this holiday season, we have a real concern that cases will rise. Hospital capacity is very low. She felt the governor’s order needs to have a chance, and it should be supported. North Dakota has not had an order like this yet and has paid for it. This needs to be done now.
State’s Attorney Scott Stewart felt they needed to listen to Steph on this as she is very knowledgeable and recommended the commissioners not go forward with a resolution of opposition.
Representatives from the local health care systems and school were also in favor of the governor’s order, telling the commissioners firsthand about their situations. Principal Ethen Askvig from LAHS said the governor’s order will give kids a good break from having to think about every action they take and how it might affect their team. Director Brittanie Mostad from Osnabrock Community Living Center said rural health care is really not okay right now and something stronger needs to be done. Director Connie Hakanson from Maple Manor said North Dakota has not done as good of a job as it thinks it has. Every time there is an outbreak, the Care Center shuts down and that has a big impact on residents, the staff and their families. FNP Megan Overby from Cavalier County Memorial Hospital told the commissioners how strained the local health care system is right now. When recently faced with an emergency surgery, the closest facility they could get the patient into was Iowa. Karen Kempert from Emergency Management said that getting a break for two cycles of contagion will mitigate the surge that’s coming from the holidays so we are better able to handle the patient load that may appear.
In light of the issues brought forward by the local health systems, public health, and the school, Dick said he had changed his mind and made a motion to support the governor’s order. This was echoed by Goodman, Lafrenz, and Moser. The commissioners thanked all the participants for the honest discussion. Everyone involved thanked the health care system workers for their service in a situation hard to imagine. Goodman seconded the motion which was carried in a roll call vote: Zeis yes, Dick yes, Lafrenz yes, Goodman yes, Moser yes.