North Dakota National Guardsman Is 12th US Service Member to Die from COVID-19

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As the sun rises, a soldier hikes along a 12-mile road march course. (U.S. Army: Sgt. Scott Lamberson)
As the sun rises, a soldier hikes along a 12-mile road march course. (U.S. Army: Sgt. Scott Lamberson)

As the number of total COVID-19 cases in the Department of Defense community nears 120,000, a 12th U.S. service member has died of the illness, according to data released by the Pentagon Monday.

A National Guard spokesman referred questions to the North Dakota National Guard, which did not respond to a request for more information by publication.

The death is the third of a National Guardsman and the fourth of a U.S. service member this month as a result of the pandemic.

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COVID-19 has previously taken the lives of one active-duty sailor, six Army Reserve members and five National Guardsmen.

Since the pandemic began, 79,020 military personnel have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. More than 800 have been hospitalized.

The Defense Department has seen the number of cases among U.S. troops rise dramatically in the past 30 days, up 39%, or 22,300 -- more than the number of personnel and civilian employees assigned to Hill Air Force Base or other large military installation.

As of Monday, 117,736 military personnel, family members, civilian employees and contractors are currently fighting or have recovered from COVID-19. Twelve service members, 78 civilians, 8 family members and 31 defense contractors have died.

Cases continue to rise across the services, with the Air Force seeing the largest spike -- a 59% increase in the past 30 days, to 14,8382 cases, up from 9,012 on Oct. 30.

The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard have seen cases rise in the past month by roughly one-third: the Army had recorded 28,255 cases as of Monday; the Marine Corps, 9,449; the Navy, 16,620; and the National Guard, 9,474.

The virus has affected life in a variety of ways across the services. Two Navy football games were postponed earlier this month when 20 members of the team entered quarantine for the virus. Travel restrictions have been reinstated for troops assigned to U.S. Forces Korea, where cases are on the rise. The Navy has raised the health protection condition of nearly all its U.S. installations to "Charlie," while the Air Force has deployed about 60 nurses to North Dakota to assist with the health response in that state.

In the U.S. hospitalization rates are higher now than at any time during the pandemic, mainly in adults 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Monday, the U.S. had recorded 13.5 million cases of COVID-19 and 267,635 deaths from the illness.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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