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2 Northland schools removed from state's COVID-19 outbreak list

Five Northland schools remain on the outbreak list. Three of those schools are in Itasca County, one in Carlton County and one in St. Louis County.

Hibbing High School
Hibbing High School at 800 E. 21st St. in Hibbing, Minnesota. (2019 File / News Tribune)

Two more Northland schools were removed from the Minnesota Department of Health's outbreak list Thursday.

A school building is put on the list if it reports five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in a building while infectious during a two-week reporting period. The building is removed after 28 days of no new positive tests.

The two schools removed were Hibbing High School and North Woods School (secondary) in Cook.

As of Thursday, three new school buildings were added to the list and 53 were removed for a total of 137 still on the list.

Northland schools still on the list include:


  • Winterquist Elementary School in Esko, added Nov. 19.

  • Grand Rapids Senior High School, added Oct. 8.

  • Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids, added Dec. 3.

  • West Rapids Elementary School in Grand Rapids, added Nov. 12.

  • Cherry School secondary students in Iron Junction, added Nov. 11.

From Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, there were 144 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 95 new cases among staff and 49 new cases among students.
From Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, 145 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 22 reported two to four confirmed cases and three reported more than five.


Local COVID-19 numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for Dec. 13-26 were:

  • 48 in Aitkin County.

  • 51.21 in Carlton County.

  • 9.41 in Cook County.

  • 40.04 in Itasca County.

  • 37.85 in Lake County.

  • 50.83 in St. Louis County.

  • 60.7 in the Duluth area.

  • 40.7 in central/southern St. Louis County.

  • 17.3 in northern St. Louis County.

The 14-day case rates are used as guidance for school districts when choosing the learning model for middle and high school students. Elementary students are allowed to return to in-person learning five days a week starting Jan. 18, regardless of these numbers.
According to Essentia Health’s COVID-19 Regional Projections dashboard, the county 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents as of Jan. 6 were:

  • 30.2 in Aitkin County.

  • 49.4 in Carlton County.

  • 13 in Cook County.

  • 27 in Itasca County.

  • 44.1 in Lake County.

  • 51.8 in St. Louis County.

COVID-19 cases remain low in ages zero to 19 in St. Louis County but statewide there was a significant increase in these age groups over the past week.
The number of new cases in youth age groups in St. Louis County and statewide from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6:

  • Ages 0-4 — 10; 341.

  • Ages 5-9 — 13; 505.

  • Ages 10-14 — 19; 607.

  • Ages 15-19 — 33; 1,083.

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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