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Northland COVID cases, deaths stay low this week

The Northland recorded 426 new cases and five COVID-related deaths March 11-17.

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DULUTH — New cases of COVID-19 in the Northland continued to stay below 500 between March 11 and 17. The 10-county region recorded 426 new cases in the seven-day period. Last week, the region had 378 cases.

Five deaths were recorded March 11-17 in the Northland, including two each in Koochiching and Douglas counties and one in Itasca County.

In St. Louis County, 12 people were hospitalized March 11-17 with COVID and two people were admitted to an intensive care unit, according to St. Louis County Public Health. As of March 17, 28 people have been hospitalized with COVID this month and five have been admitted to an ICU.

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services do not provide the vaccination status of individuals who die or are hospitalized due to COVID.

New cases in Northland counties March 11-17:


  • Aitkin — 7.
  • Carlton — 24.
  • Cook — 3.
  • Itasca — 34.
  • Koochiching — 15.
  • Lake — 26.
  • St. Louis — 276.
  • Ashland — 8.
  • Bayfield — 12.
  • Douglas — 21.

School outbreaks

Twenty-five Minnesota schools in the Northland have COVID outbreaks.

The following schools listed have five or more confirmed cases in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday:

  • Duluth: Bay View Elementary, Congdon Elementary, Denfeld High School, East High School, Homecroft Elementary, Lester Park Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School, North Star Academy, Ordean East Middle School and Piedmont Elementary.
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Elementary and Hermantown Middle School.
  • Proctor: A.I. Jedlicka Middle School.
  • Cloquet: Churchill Elementary, Cloquet Middle School and Washington Elementary.
  • Deer River: Deer River Secondary.
  • Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids Senior High.
  • Hibbing: Assumption Catholic School, Greenhaven Elementary, Lincoln Elementary School and Hibbing High School.
  • International Falls: Falls Elementary and Falls Secondary.
  • Mountain Iron: Mountain Iron-Buhl Secondary.

The following schools were removed from the outbreak list this week:

  • Duluth: Laura MacArthur Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Pike Lake Elementary, Stella Maris Academy (St. John's campus) and Stowe Elementary.
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Senior High.
  • Proctor: Proctor Senior High.
  • Aurora: Mesabi East Elementary and Mesabi East Secondary.
  • Barnum: Barnum Elementary and Barnum Secondary.
  • Carlton: South Terrace Elementary and Carlton Secondary.
  • Chisholm: Vaughn Elementary.
  • Cloquet: Cloquet Senior High.
  • Coleraine: Greenway Senior High.
  • Cook: North Woods Secondary.
  • Culver: South Ridge Elementary and South Ridge Secondary.
  • Ely: Memorial High School.
  • Esko: Winterquist Elementary and Lincoln Secondary.
  • Grand Rapids: East Rapids Elementary, Robert J. Elkington Middle School, West Rapids Elementary and Washington Elementary.
  • Keewatin: Keewatin-Nashwauk Elementary.
  • Nashwauk: Nashwauk Secondary.
  • Silver Bay: William Kelley Secondary.
  • Two Harbors: Minnehaha Elementary and Two Harbors Secondary.
  • Virginia: Parkview Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary and Virginia Secondary.
  • Wrenshall: Wrenshall Secondary.

    St. Louis County

    Of the 426 new cases in the Northland this week, 276 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 200 cases in the county.

    Cases in St. Louis County cities March 10-17, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

    • Duluth — 93.
    • Hibbing — 36.
    • Hermantown — 11.
    • Proctor — 9.
    • Virginia — 8.

    All other cities in St. Louis County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
    As of March 4, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 5.2%, up 2% from last week. The county reported results from 5,351 tests March 11-17. Only laboratory tests — not at-home or rapid tests — are included in the data.

    According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 29 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period March 11-17. People age 35-39 had the most cases per age group in the county, with 14 people in that age category testing positive.

    The second-highest number of cases were recorded in county residents age 25-29, with 13 people in the age category testing positive.


    Carlton County

    Carlton County logged 24 new cases March 11-17. Last week, the county had 38 reported cases. The county's weekly positivity rate was 1.7%, down 1.1% from last week.

    New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes March 11-17, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

    • Cloquet — 7.
    • Carlton — 6.

    All other cities in Carlton County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
    Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching and Aitkin counties had positive test rates below 5% this week. Lake County's positive test rate was the highest of Minnesota Northland counties at 5.9%. Only laboratory tests, not at-home or rapid tests, are included in the data.


    In the last week, 121 more people received a first dose of COVID vaccine in the Northland, and 210 people became fully vaccinated.

    As of March 17, 269,759 residents have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine — about 68% of the Northland's total population — and 255,837 residents are fully vaccinated — about 64% of the total Northland population.

    According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 147,820 Minnesota Northlanders are updated with their COVID vaccinations and boosters. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 28,501 Wisconsin Northlanders have received a booster dose.

    Percentage of people with at least one vaccine dose in each county (includes entire county population):


    • Aitkin — 61%.
    • Carlton — 71%.
    • Cook — 87%.
    • Itasca — 59%.
    • Koochiching — 57%.
    • Lake — 71%.
    • St. Louis — 69%.
    • Ashland — 70%.
    • Bayfield — 75%.
    • Douglas — 68%.
    Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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