Two Northland schools were added to the Minnesota Department of Health's outbreak list Thursday.

Lowell Elementary School in Duluth and Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids were added to the list Thursday. Both schools are currently offering five-day in-person instruction.

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.

Robert J. Elkington Middle School had six new student COVID-19 cases between Feb. 26 and March 4, resulting in 129 students needing to quarantine.

From Feb. 26 through March 11, Duluth Public Schools as a whole has had seven new COVID-19 cases among students and two among staff. Seven of those nine cases were documented in Lowell Elementary School.

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No other Northland school buildings were added or removed. These Northland schools still remained on the outbreak list as of Thursday:

  • Grand Rapids High School, added Oct. 8.

  • Merritt Elementary in Mountain Iron, added Feb. 4.

  • Hermantown High School, added Feb. 11.

As of Thursday, 18 new school buildings were added to the list and five were removed for a total of 96 buildings remaining on the list.

From Feb. 28 through March 6, there were 554 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 121 new cases among staff and 433 new cases among students. The state reported Thursday a new COVID-19 death among staff members. One student was hospitalized last week.

From Feb. 21 through March 6, 364 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 452 reported two to four confirmed cases and 42 reported more than five.

Local COVID-19 numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for Feb. 14-27 were:

  • 18.95 in Aitkin County.

  • 9.29 in Carlton County.

  • 1.88 in Cook County.

  • 21.68 in Itasca County.

  • 33.12 in Lake County.

  • 12.79 in St. Louis County.

  • 11.1 in the Duluth area.

  • 17.8 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 5.6 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.

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

  • 10.69 in Aitkin County.

  • 9.77 in Carlton County.

  • 1.85 in Cook County.

  • 18.84 in Itasca County.

  • 17.83 in Lake County.

  • 19.87 in St. Louis County.

COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County teens continue to trend upward for the second week in a row. Those under 4 years old had three new cases, ages 5-9 had seven new cases and those 10-14 had eight new cases in the past week. Those ages 15-19, however, had 20 new cases.

Statewide, COVID-19 cases over the past week in the following ages groups were:

  • 184 — under 4 years old.
  • 243 — ages 5-9.
  • 420 — ages 10-14.
  • 646 — ages 15-19.