The Northland recorded 950 cases of COVID-19 in its 10-county region Sept. 6-10. The seven-day total of cases is the highest seen since Dec. 18-24, 2020. Last week, there were 619 cases recorded in the region.

The Minnesota Department of Health conducted a data review from long-term care facilities across the state, which added 647 positive cases and 28 deaths spanning from June 2020 to September 2021 to Wednesday's daily report.

There were seven COVID-19-related deaths recorded in the Northland this week, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. One was an Itasca County resident, and six were St. Louis County residents.

St. Louis County Public Health has recorded 30 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and eight patients admitted to the intensive care unit Sept. 1-16. In a Thursday morning public health briefing, Itasca County health officials reported a strain on hospitals because of a shortage of hospital and ICU beds, in addition to staff shortages.

Dan Soular, a family medicine physician at Grand Itasca Clinic in Grand Rapids, said the only way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially the current delta variant or any future mutations, is to use the current tools available to people: vaccines, mask wearing and social distancing. Preventing COVID-19 infection can keep hospital beds open for people who require hospitalization for other reasons, he said. Kayla Scrivner, chief operating officer of Scenic Rivers Health Services, said the virus is spreading among entire families and social groups, especially with schools back in session.

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New cases in Northland counties Sept. 10-16:

  • Aitkin — 22.
  • Carlton — 74.
  • Cook — 8.
  • Itasca — 139.
  • Koochiching — 82.
  • Lake — 18.
  • St. Louis — 499.
  • Ashland — 24.
  • Bayfield — 23.
  • Douglas — 60.

St. Louis County

Of the 950 new cases in the Northland this week, 499 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 358 cases in the county.

New cases in St. Louis County cities Sept. 10-16, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

  • Duluth — 262.
  • Hibbing — 35.
  • Hermantown — 27.
  • Chisholm — 19.

  • Eveleth, Tower — 18 each.

  • Virginia — 17.
  • Mountain Iron — 14.
  • Cook — 11.

  • Aurora — 10.
  • Ely— 7.

  • Proctor — 6.
  • Hoyt Lakes, Iron, Nett Lake, Orr, Saginaw — 5 each.
  • Babbitt, Gilbert — 4 each.
  • Britt, Makinen, Side Lake — 3 each.
  • Embarrass, Zim — 2 each.
  • Alborn, Biwabik, Brookston, Meadowlands, Soudan — 1 each.

As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 7%, up 2.7% from last week. The county conducted 7,142 tests Sept. 10-16.

Carlton County

Carlton County logged 74 new cases in the last week. Those new cases came from 1,050 tests, putting this week's testing positivity rate at 7%, up 2.2% from last week.


New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes Sept. 10-16, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

  • Cloquet — 38.
  • Barnum, Moose Lake — 8 each.
  • Esko — 7.
  • Carlton — 5.
  • Wright — 4.
  • Wrenshall — 3.

  • Cromwell, Kettle River — 2 each.
  • Sawyer — 1.

All Minnesota Northland counties except Aitkin County had positive test rates above 5% this week. Koochiching County's positivity rate was the highest, at 11.1%.

In the Northland, an additional 873 people received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total of Northland residents with at least one dose to 234,017, and 1,210 people became fully vaccinated. The total number of fully vaccinated Northlanders is now 222,011 — about 56% of the Northland's total population.

Percentage of people with at least one vaccine dose in each county:

  • Aitkin — 53%.
  • Carlton — 60%.
  • Cook — 72%.
  • Itasca — 51%.
  • Koochiching — 51%.
  • Lake — 63%.
  • St. Louis — 60%.
  • Ashland — 61%.
  • Bayfield — 66%.
  • Douglas — 59%.