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Grand Rapids school added to Minnesota outbreak list as COVID-19 cases rise in Itasca County

Stella Maris Academy’s St. James campus in Duluth and Greenway High School in Coleraine were removed from the outbreak list Thursday.

(Graphic by Adelle Whitefoot /
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East Grand Rapids Elementary School was added to the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 outbreak list Thursday.

A school building is put on the list if it reports five or more confirmed cases 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.

The Grand Rapids school was added to the list as Itasca County is seeing a spike in cases. From May 6-13, Itasca County has had 144 new cases, with a seven-day average of 20.6.

Stella Maris Academy’s St. James campus in Duluth, added April 15, and Greenway High School in Coleraine, added March 25, were removed from the outbreak list Thursday.

These Northland schools remain on the outbreak list:


  • 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.

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

  • Hermantown Elementary School, added April 1.

  • Virginia High School, added April 8.

  • East High School, in Duluth, added April 15.

  • Denfeld High School, in Duluth, added April 22.

  • Piedmont Elementary School, in Duluth, added April 22.

  • Lincoln Elementary School, in Hibbing, added April 22.

  • King Elementary School, in Deer River, added April 22.

  • Nashwauk-Keewatin High School, in Nashwauk, added April 29.

  • Laura MacArthur Elementary School, in Duluth, added April 29.

As of Thursday, 33 new school buildings were added to the list and 12 were removed for a total of 344 buildings remaining on the list.

From May 2-8, there were 1,075 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 119 new cases among staff and 1,956 new cases among students. This is the highest-single week of new cases in schools since the beginning of November and the largest number of new cases among students.

The state reported six staff members and five students were hospitalized last week. One school staff member died due to COVID-19 and one student spent time in the intensive care unit.

Local COVID-19 numbers

The Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday another 149 Northland teens got their first vaccine dose.


Statewide from May 5-11, 4,635 more 16- and 17-year-olds have been vaccinated, for a total of 53,057. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds this week, giving more than 17 million more people the chance to be vaccinated.

The number of first doses administered to 16- and 17-year-olds in Northland counties as of May 11:

  • 81 in Aitkin County.

  • 328 in Carlton County.

  • 40 in Cook County.

  • 275 in Itasca County.

  • 40 in Koochiching County.

  • 76 in Lake County.

  • 1,724 in St. Louis County.

St. Louis County teens continue to keep cases low in their age groups, while statewide teens have the largest number of cases.
In St. Louis County, those age 4 and under had seven new cases; ages 5-9 had eight new cases; 10-14 had 18 new cases; and ages 15-19 had 12 new cases in the past week.

Statewide COVID-19 cases over the past week in the following age groups: age 4 and under, 305; ages 5-9, 452; ages 10-14, 766; and ages 15-19, 688.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for April 18 through May 1:

  • 23.37 in Aitkin County.

  • 22.51 in Carlton County.

  • 16.95 in Cook County.

  • 86.72 in Itasca County.

  • 17.98 in Lake County.

  • 28.04 in St. Louis County.

  • 24 in the Duluth area.

  • 35.5 in central/southern St. Louis County.

  • 27.9 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 May 10 were:

  • 23 in Aitkin County.

  • 25 in Carlton County.

  • 17 in Cook County.

  • 80 in Itasca County.

  • 10 in Lake County.

  • 25 in St. Louis County.

Adelle Whitefoot covers K-12 education in northeast Minnesota for the Duluth News Tribune. She has been covering education in Minnesota since 2014.
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