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St. Louis County surpasses 500 COVID-19-related deaths

Cases continue to decline in the Northland, with 1,531 new cases reported Feb. 11-17.

FSA Coronavirus local

DULUTH — St. Louis County has surpassed 500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. This week, the county recorded 11 COVID-related deaths, bringing the total to 509.

Twenty-three deaths were recorded in the Northland between Feb. 11 and 17, including four in Itasca County and three in Ashland County. Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Bayfield and Douglas counties each recorded one death this week.

The Northland reported 1,531 new COVID cases Feb. 11-17. Last week the region recorded 1,706 cases.

So far in February, 90 people with COVID have been hospitalized in St. Louis County, including five pediatric patients. Fourteen people with COVID infections have been admitted to the ICU in February as of Feb. 17.

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. 11-17:

  • Aitkin — 48.
  • Carlton — 219.
  • Cook — 13.
  • Itasca — 155.
  • Koochiching — 45.
  • Lake — 29.
  • St. Louis — 822.
  • Ashland — 29.
  • Bayfield — 41.
  • Douglas — 130.

School outbreaks

Forty-one 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,* Marshall School, East High School, Homecroft Elementary,* Laura MacArthur Elementary,* Lester Park Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School,* Lowell Elementary,* Ordean East Middle School,* Piedmont Elementary,* Pike Lake Elementary, Stella Maris Academy (St. John's campus)* and Stowe Elementary.
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Middle School.
  • Proctor: A.I. Jedlicka Middle School and Proctor Senior High.
  • Aurora: Mesabi East Elementary and Mesabi East Secondary.
  • Chisholm: Vaughn Elementary.
  • Cloquet: Cloquet Senior High, Cloquet Middle School and Washington Elementary.
  • Cook: North Woods Secondary.
  • Culver: South Ridge Elementary.
  • 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 and Grand Rapids Senior High.
  • Hibbing: Lincoln Elementary School and Hibbing High School.
  • International Falls: Falls Elementary* and Falls Secondary.*
  • Keewatin: Keewatin-Nashwauk Elementary.*
  • Virginia: Roosevelt Elementary and Virginia Secondary.
  • Two Harbors: Minnehaha Elementary.

* indicates newly added school.

Littlefork-Big Falls Elementary in Littlefork was removed from the outbreak list this week.

    St. Louis County

    Of the 1,531 new cases in the Northland this week, 822 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 1,020 cases in the county.

    Cases in St. Louis County cities Feb. 11-17, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

    • Duluth — 502.
    • Hibbing — 62.
    • Virginia — 58.
    • Hermantown — 35.
    • Ely — 28.
    • Eveleth — 26.
    • Proctor — 25.
    • Gilbert — 16.
    • Cook, Mountain Iron — 14 each.
    • Aurora — 12.
    • Chisholm — 11.
    • Britt, Buhl, Saginaw — 8 each.
    • Embarrass, Tower — 7 each.
    • Iron — 5.

    All other cities in St. Louis County recorded fewer than five cases this week.
    As of Feb. 17, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 9.4%, down 0.5% from last week. The county reported results from 8,779 tests Feb. 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, 203 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period Feb. 11-17. People age 20-24 accounted for the largest case total in the county, with 112 people in the age category testing positive.

    The second-highest total of new cases was reported in people age 35-39, with 90 reported cases.

    Carlton County

    Carlton County logged 219 new cases Feb. 11-17. As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 9.1%, up 1.9% from last week. The county reported results from 2,398 tests Feb. 11-17.

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

    • Cloquet — 81.
    • Moose Lake — 65.
    • Barnum — 23.
    • Esko — 21.
    • Wrenshall — 13.
    • Carlton — 12.
    • Kettle River — 9.

    All other cities in Carlton County recorder fewer than five cases this week.
    St. Louis, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching and Aitkin counties had positive test rates above 5% this week. Itasca County's positive test rate was the highest, at 10.3%. Only laboratory tests, not at-home or rapid tests, are included in the data.


    As of Feb. 17, 269,182 residents have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine — about 68% of the Northland's total population — and 254,254 residents are fully vaccinated — about 64% of the total Northland population.

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


    • Aitkin — 61%.
    • Carlton — 70%.
    • 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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