Hermantown High School was added to the Minnesota Department of Health's outbreak list Thursday.

A school building is put on the list if it reports five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in a building while infectious during a two-week reporting period. The building is removed after 28 days of no new positive tests.

Hermantown High School returned to hybrid learning Jan. 21 after distance learning before and after the winter break. Superintendent Wayne Whitwam told the News Tribune the school had seven positive COVID-19 cases and 29 people in quarantine.

No other Northland school buildings were added or removed.

Grand Rapids High School, added Oct. 8, still remains on the outbreak list, as well as Merritt Elementary in Mountain Iron, which was added Feb. 4.

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As of Thursday, 10 new school buildings were added to the list, and seven were removed for a total of 71 buildings remaining on the list.

From Jan. 31 through Feb. 6, there were 395 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 154 new cases among staff and 241 new cases among students. The state reported two more staff members and one student were hospitalized last week.

From Jan. 23 through Feb. 6, 341 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 140 reported two to four confirmed cases, and 20 reported more than five. Statewide, 15 more school buildings reported at least one new case of COVID-19 last week.

Local COVID-19 numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for Jan. 7-30 were:

  • 32.84 in Aitkin County.

  • 27.01 in Carlton County.

  • 1.88 in Cook County.

  • 17.26 in Itasca County.

  • 35.01 in Lake County.

  • 24.64 in St. Louis County.

  • 29 in the Duluth area.

  • 19.4 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 12.4 in Northern St. Louis County.

The 14-day case rates are used as guidance for school districts when choosing the right learning model for middle and high school students. Elementary students are allowed to return to in-person learning five days a week starting Jan. 18 regardless of these numbers.

This is the first time since Sept. 19 that the 14-day case rate has been below 30 in the Duluth area, and the first time since Oct. 10 it has been below 30 countywide. If numbers continue to trend down or stay the same, Duluth Public Schools will be able to bring secondary school students back into the classroom in March for the first time in a year.

According to Essentia Health’s COVID-19 Regional Projections dashboard, the county 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents as of Feb. 9 were:

  • 18.2 in Aitkin County.

  • 26 in Carlton County.

  • 1.9 in Cook County.

  • 20.8 in Itasca County.

  • 19.7 in Lake County.

  • 18.6 in St. Louis County.

COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County remained low in school-age students as elementary students across the county return to five days a week. Those ages 0-14 saw 21 new cases in the past week. Those ages 15-19 had 13 new cases.

Statewide, COVID-19 cases over the past week in these age groups were 203, ages 0-4; 246, ages 5-9; 309, ages 10-14; and 468, ages 15-19.