COVID-19 cases among St. Louis County students continue to be low as secondary school students prepare to come back into the classroom in Duluth.

In St. Louis County, of the 133 new cases in the past week, students made up 24 cases, or 5.26% of new COVID-19 cases over the past week. Statewide, students made up 6.1% of new COVID-19 cases over the past week.

Duluth Public Schools is planning to bring its secondary school students back into the classroom for the first time in nearly a year starting March 8.

In St. Louis County, those ages 0-14 saw 12 new cases in the past week. Those ages 15-19, however, also had 12 new cases.

Statewide COVID-19 cases over the past week were: 152, ages 0-4; 250, ages 5-9; 335, ages 10-14; and 444, ages 15-19.

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No Northland schools were added to 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.

Grand Rapids High School, added Oct. 8, still remains on the outbreak list as well as Merritt Elementary in Mountain Iron, added Feb. 4, and Hermantown High School, added Feb. 11.

As of Thursday, one new school building was added to the list, and one was removed for a total of 71 buildings remaining on the list.

From Feb. 7-13, there were 433 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 118 new cases among staff and 315 new cases among students. The state reported three more staff members were hospitalized, with one spending time in the ICU. Only two students were hospitalized last week.

From Jan. 31 through Feb. 13, 349 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19; 142 reported two to four confirmed cases; and 16 reported more than five. Statewide, 22 more school buildings reported at least one new case of COVID-19.

Local COVID-19 numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for Jan. 24 through Feb. 6 were:

  • 15.79 in Aitkin County.

  • 26.45 in Carlton County.

  • 1.88 in Cook County.

  • 19.69 in Itasca County.

  • 21.76 in Lake County.

  • 16.99 in St. Louis County.

  • 16.5 in the Duluth area.

  • 20.3 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 4.3 in Northern St. Louis County.

The 14-day case rates are used as guidance for school districts when choosing the right 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.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that he hopes to have all secondary school students attending some sort of in-person learning by March 8. The recommendations include continued social distancing of at least 3 feet unless the 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents is 10 or below and that families take a COVID-19 test every two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus. Tests are free for all Minnesota residents, regardless of insurance coverage.

According to Essentia Health’s COVID-19 Regional Projections dashboard, the county 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents as of Feb. 16 were:

  • 13.8 in Aitkin County.

  • 16.2 in Carlton County.

  • 3.7 in Cook County.

  • 22.2 in Itasca County.

  • 30 in Lake County.

  • 14.8 in St. Louis County.