Two Northland schools were 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.

East High School, in Duluth, was added to the list Thursday. The school returned to four days a week in-person learning for all students April 1. Duluth Public Schools has had three staff cases and 20 student COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, according to data updated Thursday.

East High School is located at 301 N. 40th Ave. E. in Duluth. (Steve Kuchera / 2020 file / News Tribune)
East High School is located at 301 N. 40th Ave. E. in Duluth. (Steve Kuchera / 2020 file / News Tribune)

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Stella Maris Academy’s St. James campus was also added to the list Thursday. The school has an in-person learning model with a distance-learning option. It has had five cases within two weeks, Principal Julianne Blazevic said. She also said there has not been a positive case in a week and there’s been no transmission within the school.

“This is the highest number of cases we’ve had in two weeks all year,” Blazevic said. “Families really need to continue to be careful.”

Julianne Blazevic
Julianne Blazevic

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

  • Grand Rapids High School, added Oct. 8.

  • Lowell Elementary School, in Duluth, added March 11.

  • Robert J. Elkington Middle School, in Grand Rapids, added March 11.

  • Hibbing High School, added March 18.

  • Mesabi East High School, in Aurora, added March 18.

  • St. Joseph’s Catholic School, in Grand Rapids, added March 18.

  • Cohasset Elementary School, in Cohasset, added March 25.

  • Greenway High School, in Coleraine, added March 25.

  • West Rapids Elementary School, in Grand Rapids, added March 25.

  • Mesabi East Elementary School, in Aurora, added March 25.

  • Memorial High School, in Ely, added March 25.

  • Hermantown Elementary School, added April 1.

  • Virginia High School, added April 8.

As of Thursday, 30 new school buildings were added to the list statewide and seven were removed for a total of 199 buildings remaining on the list.

From April 4-10, there were 991 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 147 new cases among staff and 844 new cases among students. The state reported four staff members were hospitalized with one spending time in the ICU. Three students were hospitalized last week.

Local COVID-19 numbers

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds continue to be vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 shot. Over the past week, 7,357 more Minnesota teens received their first dose of the vaccine. The number of vaccines received by 16- and 17-year-olds in Northeastern Minnesota by county are:

  • Aitkin — 39.

  • Carlton — 154.

  • Cook — 28.

  • Itasca — 136.

  • Koochiching — 18.

  • Lake — 35.

  • St. Louis — 929.

In late March, Pfizer released results from a trial of 2,260 adolescents. the study found 100% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infection in children 12-15, and robust antibody responses and said the intervention "was well-tolerated."

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing those data to make a determination on an Emergency Use Authorization for the population, one that could come shortly. Trials are also underway for effectiveness of the vaccines in very young children. Pediatricians expect those results won't be ready until 2022, however.

COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County youth continue to rise. Those ages 0-4 had eight new cases; ages 5-9 had 23 new cases; ages 10-14 had 32 new cases; and those ages 15-19 had 62 new cases in the past week.

Statewide COVID-19 cases over the past week by age group were: ages 0-4, 456; ages 5-9, 776; ages 10-14, 1,047; and ages 15-19, 1,433.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for March 21 through April 3 were:

  • 25.89 in Aitkin County.

  • 31.51 in Carlton County.

  • 11.3 in Cook County.

  • 42.48 in Itasca County.

  • 12.3 in Lake County.

  • 33.64 in St. Louis County.

  • 39.8 in the Duluth area.

  • 22.1 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 28.5 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 April 12 were:

  • 38 in Aitkin County.

  • 34 in Carlton County.

  • 13 in Cook County.

  • 43 in Itasca County.

  • 15 in Lake County.

  • 38 in St. Louis County.