Eighty-one more people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the 10-county region of the Northland as of Tuesday and two more people have died from COVID-19 and its complications.

Both of the people who died were from St. Louis County. One was in their 100s and the other was in their early 90s, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The county has now lost 231 people to the illness. Those deaths were among 13 reported by the state Tuesday.

The state of Wisconsin reported 49 new deaths. None of those people lived in the Northland.

St. Louis County's infection numbers have been declining since December and school rates are coming down, said Amy Westbrook, the public health division director for the county, in a St. Louis County Board meeting Tuesday.

“We had quite a November,” she said.

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Westbrook confirmed vaccines are effective against new strains of the virus, which are said to be more contagious. That includes the new variant first detected in the United Kingdom. The state's health department reported over the weekend that the new strain was identified in five people in Minnesota's metro area.

New cases and seven-day averages in Northland counties:

  • Aitkin — 1; 3.1.
  • Carlton — 10; 11.3.
  • Cook — 0; 0.4.
  • Itasca — 6; 9.1.
  • Koochiching — 0; 2.3.
  • Lake — 2; 5.4.
  • St. Louis — 42; 62.
  • Ashland — 1; 5.7.
  • Bayfield — 5; 5.6.
  • Douglas — 14; 17.6.

The new cases were among the 1,335 new cases that Minnesota reported on Tuesday and the 2,790 that Wisconsin reported.

Also on Tuesday, Minnesota was reporting that more than 144,500 people had received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 7,400 people have had both of their vaccine shots as of Jan. 9. Vaccination data takes a couple of days to process before it's included in the state's report.

St. Louis County logged 258 of those new vaccinations, while Carlton County logged 72.

Wisconsin updates its vaccine administration data every Tuesday while Minnesota updates its data every week day. This week Wisconsin reported that nearly 78,000 more residents have received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, brining the total to more than 163,300 people.

The state does not specify which counties those people live in.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Minnesota have remained stable since peaking in late November and early December. At one point on Monday, 60 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Northeastern Minnesota. Eleven of them were in intensive care.

This story was updated at 5:08 p.m. Jan. 12 with additional information from Wisconsin. It was originally posted at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 12.