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14 Northlanders, including St. Louis County resident in 20s, die from COVID-19

The 10-county region recorded 1,209 cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6.

FSA Coronavirus local
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Fourteen COVID-19-related deaths were recorded in the Northland between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

St. Louis County recorded four COVID deaths in the seven-day period, including a resident age 25-29 on Jan. 6. Itasca County recorded three deaths in the last week. Koochiching and Ashland counties each recorded two. Aitkin, Carlton and Bayfield counties had one death each. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services do not provide the vaccination status of individual people who die or are hospitalized due to COVID.

Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, 12 people were hospitalized with COVID in St. Louis County, including one pediatric patient, according to St. Louis County Public Health. Three people were admitted to an intensive care unit in that time. So far in January, four people have been hospitalized with COVID and one COVID patient has been admitted to an intensive care unit in the county as of Jan. 6.

The Northland had 1,209 cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Last week, the 10-county region had 1,028 new cases.

New cases in Northland counties Dec. 31-Jan. 6:


  • Aitkin — 14.
  • Carlton — 98.
  • Cook — 18.
  • Itasca — 72.
  • Koochiching — 31.
  • Lake — 19.
  • St. Louis — 748.
  • Ashland — 34.
  • Bayfield — 30.
  • Douglas — 145.


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School outbreaks

Thirty-six Northland schools 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, East High School, Homecroft Elementary, Laura MacArthur Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lowell Elementary, Ordean East Middle School, Piedmont Elementary, Pike Lake Elementary, Raleigh Primary/El Academy and Stella Maris Academy (Holy Rosary and St. John's campuses).
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Elementary, Hermantown Middle School and Hermantown Senior High.
  • Proctor: Proctor Senior High and A. I. Jedlicka Middle School.
  • Virginia: Virginia Secondary.
  • Hibbing: Hibbing High and Lincoln Elementary.
  • Aurora: Mesabi East Elementary.
  • Babbitt: Northeast Range Secondary.
  • Culver: South Ridge Elementary and South Ridge Secondary.
  • Cloquet: Cloquet Senior High and Churchill Elementary.
  • Esko: Winterquist Elementary and Lincoln Secondary.
  • Moose Lake: Moose Lake Elementary.
  • Aitkin: Rippleside Elementary.
  • McGregor: McGregor Secondary.
  • Grand Rapids: West Rapids Elementary and Grand Rapids Senior High.
  • International Falls: Falls Elementary and Falls Secondary.
  • Littlefork: Littlefork-Big Falls Elementary.

St. Louis County

Of the 1,209 new cases in the Northland this week, 748 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 628 cases in the county.

New cases in St. Louis County cities Dec. 31-Jan. 6, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

  • Duluth — 504.
  • Hermantown — 46.
  • Hibbing — 40.
  • Ely, Eveleth — 20 each.
  • Proctor — 18.
  • Mountain Iron — 11.
  • Gilbert, Virginia — 10 each.
  • Chisholm, Hoyt Lakes, Saginaw — 7 each.
  • Tower — 6.
  • Iron — 5.

All other St. Louis County cities recorded fewer than five cases.
As of Jan. 6, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 9.4%, up 2.1% from last week. The county conducted 7,991 tests Dec. 31-Jan. 6.

According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 141 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period Dec. 31-Jan. 6. People age 20-24 accounted for the largest case total in the county, with 121 people in the age category testing positive.

The second-highest total of new cases was reported in people age 30-34, with 81 reported cases.

Carlton County

Carlton County logged 98 new cases Dec.31-Jan. 6. As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 8.9%, up 4.6% from last week. The county conducted 1.102 tests Dec. 31-Jan. 6.


New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes Dec. 31-Jan. 6, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

  • Cloquet — 51.
  • Esko — 14.
  • Moose Lake — 12.
  • Barnum — 9.
  • Cromwell — 7.

All other Carlton County cities recorded fewer than five cases.
St. Louis, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching and Aitkin counties had positive test rates of 5% or above this week. Cook County's positive test rate was the highest at 12.2%, with 18 positive cases from 148 tests in seven days.


In the Northland, 264,398 residents have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine — about 66% of the Northland's total population — and 249,003 residents are fully vaccinated — about 63% of the total Northland population. Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, 1,116 people received a first dose of vaccine and 1,241 people became fully vaccinated.

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

  • Aitkin — 60%.
  • Carlton — 69%.
  • Cook — 85%.
  • Itasca — 58%.
  • Koochiching — 56%.
  • Lake — 71%.
  • St. Louis — 68%.
  • Ashland — 69%.
  • Bayfield — 73%.
  • Douglas — 65%.
Laura Butterbrodt covers health and business 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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