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Physicians and health officials have promoted masks, social distancing and hand-washing for months, but with mounting deaths in nursing homes, hospitals teetering on maximum capacity and record infection rates, North Dakota’s medical community is sounding the alarm. Sixty-five pediatricians in the state signed an open letter sent to Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday, Oct. 13, asking him to institute a mask mandate. They warned that “until there is an effective and safe vaccination, masking is all that stands in the way of North Dakota and a public health disaster this winter.” A separate group of more than 100 doctors published a letter last week urging residents to comply with mask guidelines, but they stopped short of calling for a statewide mask requirement. North Dakota is one of about 15 states that has not put a mask mandate in place. Burgum has repeatedly rejected the measure, saying that residents should be trusted to act responsibly and wear face coverings voluntarily. Burgum and other officials have noted that many North Dakotans have opted against mask-wearing.
The Republican governor has also said the state is relying on local leaders to make decisions. Burgum on Wednesday, Oct. 14, met with 14 mayors from the …
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