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Northland COVID-19 cases lowest since July

The Northland recorded 228 new cases and eight COVID-related deaths March 18-24.

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DULUTH — The Northland's 10-county region recorded 228 new cases March 18-24. This is the lowest seven-day total since July 2021. This is the fourth week in a row the region had less than 1,000 new cases reported. Last week, there were 426 new cases in the Northland.

Eight deaths were recorded March 18-24 in the Northland, including four in St. Louis County and one each in Carlton, Douglas, Bayfield and Ashland counties.

In St. Louis County, six people were hospitalized March 18-24 with COVID, including one pediatric patient, according to St. Louis County Public Health. As of March 24, 34 people have been hospitalized with COVID this month, including one pediatric patient, 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 18-24:


  • Aitkin — 6.
  • Carlton — 10.
  • Cook — 2.
  • Itasca — 12.
  • Koochiching — 7.
  • Lake — 4.
  • St. Louis — 150.
  • Ashland — 13.
  • Bayfield — 11.
  • Douglas — 13.

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, Washington Elementary School* and Hibbing High School.
  • International Falls: Falls Elementary and Falls Secondary.
  • Mountain Iron: Mountain Iron-Buhl Secondary.

* indicates newly added school.

Lincoln Elementary School in Hibbing was removed from the outbreak list this week.

      St. Louis County

      Of the 228 new cases in the Northland this week, 150 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 276 cases in the county.

      Cases in St. Louis County cities March 18-24, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

      • Duluth — 102.
      • Hibbing — 9.
      • Virginia — 7.

      All other cities in St. Louis County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
      As of March 24, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 3.3%, down 1.9% from last week. The county reported results from 4,603 tests March 18-24. Only laboratory tests — not at-home or rapid tests — are included in the data.

      According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 28 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period March 18-24. People age 35-39 had the most cases per age group in the county, with 27 people in that age category testing positive.


      The second-highest number of cases were recorded in county residents age 40-44, with 16 people in the age category testing positive.

      Carlton County

      Carlton County logged 10 new cases March 11-17. Last week, the county had 24 reported cases. The county's weekly positivity rate was 1%, down 0.7% from last week.

      New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes March 18-24, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

      • Carlton — 6.
      • Cloquet — 3.
      • Esko — 2.
      • Barnum, Moose Lake, Wright — 1 each.

      All Minnesota Northland counties had positive test rates below 5% this week. St. Louis County's positive test rate was the highest, at 3.3%. Only laboratory tests, not at-home or rapid tests, are included in the data.


      In the last week, 104 more people received a first dose of COVID vaccine in the Northland, and 194 people became fully vaccinated.

      As of March 24, 269,865 residents have received at least one dose of vaccine — about 68% of the Northland's total population — and 256,031 residents are fully vaccinated — about 64% of the total Northland population.

      According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 147,749 Minnesota Northlanders are updated with their COVID vaccinations and boosters. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 28,606 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 — 70%.
      • Cook — 86%.
      • Itasca — 59%.
      • Koochiching — 58%.
      • Lake — 72%.
      • St. Louis — 69%.
      • Ashland — 72%.
      • Bayfield — 74%.
      • Douglas — 67%.
      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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