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New Northland COVID-19 case rates drop significantly in past week

Sixteen COVID-related deaths were reported in the region Feb. 4-10.

FSA Coronavirus local
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DULUTH — New COVID-19 case rates have dropped significantly in several Northeastern Minnesota counties.

The 10-county Northland region reported 1,867 new COVID cases Feb. 4-10. The previous week, the region recorded 4,385 cases.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services experienced a technical issue when updating COVID data Feb. 10, according to a notice on the website. The issue is expected to be fixed by Monday.

Tests reported by the state health departments do not include positive at-home test results.

Sixteen COVID-related deaths were recorded Feb. 4-10 in the Northland, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. St. Louis County had seven COVID-related deaths in the seven-day period; Itasca County had four new deaths; Carlton County recorded three; and Cook and Lake counties each reported one new death.

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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 Feb. 4-10:

  • Aitkin — 37.
  • Carlton — 342.
  • Cook — 6.
  • Itasca — 221.
  • Koochiching — 45.
  • Lake — 35.
  • St. Louis — 1,020.
  • Ashland — 37*.
  • Bayfield — 27* .
  • Douglas — 97*.

*Does not include data from Feb. 10 due to technical difficulties, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

School outbreaks

Several Minnesota schools in the Northland were added to the state's outbreak list in the past week. No area schools were removed from the outbreak list.

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: Congdon Elementary, East High School, Lester Park Elementary and Marshall School.
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Middle School*
  • Proctor: Bay View Elementary,* Pike Lake Elementary,* A.I. Jedlicka Middle School,* Proctor Senior High.
  • Aurora: Mesabi East Elementary* and Secondary School*
  • Chisholm: Vaughn Elementary*
  • Cloquet: Cloquet Senior,* Cloquet Middle,* and Washington Elementary.*
  • Cook: North Woods Secondary.
  • Culver: South Ridge Elementary*
  • Ely: Ely Memorial High School*
  • Esko: Winterquist Elementary* and Lincoln Secondary.*
  • Grand Rapids: East Rapids Elementary, St. Joseph’s Catholic School*, Robert J. Elkington Middle School*, Grand Rapids Sr. High*
  • Hibbing: Lincoln Elementary School,* Hibbing High School*
  • Littlefork: Littlefork-Big Falls Elementary.
  • Virginia: Roosevelt Elementary,* Virginia Secondary*
  • Two Harbors: Minnehaha Elementary*

* indicates newly added school.

    St. Louis County

    Of the 1,867 new cases in the Northland this week, 1,020 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 2,406 cases in the county.

    Cases in St. Louis County cities Feb. 4-10, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

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    • Duluth — 674.
    • Hibbing — 105.
    • Virginia — 75.
    • Hermantown — 49.
    • Eveleth — 32.
    • Chisholm and Ely — 26 each.
    • Saginaw — 24.
    • Proctor — 17.
    • Gilbert and Mountain Iron — 16 each.
    • Biwabik — 12.
    • Cook and Embarrass — 10 each.
    • Aurora — 9.
    • Tower — 7.
    • Hoyt Lakes and Zim — 6.
    • Babbitt, Floodwood and Meadowlands, — 5

    All other cities in St. Louis County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
    As of Feb. 10, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 9.9%, down 14.7% from last week. The county reported results from 10,119 tests Feb. 4-10. Only laboratory tests — not at-home or rapid tests — are included in the data.

    According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 241 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period Feb. 4-10. People age 20-24 accounted for the largest case total in the county, with 136 people in the age category testing positive.

    The second-highest total of new cases was reported in people age 30-34, with 114 reported cases.

    Carlton County

    Carlton County logged 342 new cases Feb. 4-10. As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 7.2%, down 22.8% from last week. The county reported results from 2,455 tests Feb. 4-10.

    New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes Jan. 28-Feb. 3, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

    • Cloquet — 160.
    • Moose Lake — 70.
    • Esko — 30.
    • Carlton — 27.
    • Barnum — 19.
    • Sawyer — 11.
    • Wrenshall — 10.
    • Wright — 7.
    • Cromwell and Kettle River — 6.

    All other cities in Carlton County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
    Cook and Lake counties had positive test rates above 20% this week: 26.7% and 22.5%, respectively. Only laboratory tests — not at-home or rapid tests — are included in the data.

    Vaccines

    As of Feb. 10, 268,659 residents have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine — about 67% of the Northland's total population — and 254,405 residents are fully vaccinated — about 63% of the total Northland population. Updated vaccine data was not available for Wisconsin counties due to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services glitch.

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

    • Aitkin — 60%.
    • Carlton — 70%.
    • Cook — 87%.
    • Itasca — 59%.
    • Koochiching — 57%.
    • Lake — 71%.
    • St. Louis — 69%.
    Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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