Five 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.

Schools added to the list Thursday were Cohasset Elementary School in Cohasset, Greenway High School in Coleraine, West Rapids Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Mesabi East Elementary School in Aurora and Memorial High School in Ely. No other Northland school buildings were added or removed.

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These Northland schools remain on the outbreak list as of Thursday:

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  • Grand Rapids High School, added Oct. 8.

  • Hermantown High School, added Feb. 11.

  • Lowell Elementary School, in Duluth, added March 11.

  • Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids, added March 11.

  • Hibbing High School, added March 18.

  • Mesabi East High School in Aurora, added March 18.

  • St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Grand Rapids, added March 18.

As of Thursday, 34 new school buildings were added to the list and six were removed for a total of 139 buildings remaining on the list.

From March 14-20, there were 745 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 116 new cases among staff and 629 new cases among students. The state reported one more staff member was hospitalized. Two students were hospitalized last week, with one spending time in the ICU.

Local COVID-19 numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-verified 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents around the Northland for Feb. 28 through March 13 were:

  • 6.32 in Aitkin County.

  • 5.91 in Carlton County.

  • 18.83 in Cook County.

  • 19.69 in Itasca County.

  • 8.52 in Lake County.

  • 16.04 in St. Louis County.

  • 12.6 in the Duluth area.

  • 23 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 13.6 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.

According to Essentia Health’s COVID-19 Regional Projections dashboard, the county 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents as of March 24 were:

  • 7.55 in Aitkin County.

  • 18.42 in Carlton County.

  • 25.96 in Cook County.

  • 35.03 in Itasca County.

  • 14.07 in Lake County.

  • 19.62 in St. Louis County.

Cases in St. Louis County youth ages 10-19 continue to increase. Those ages 0-4 had three new cases, ages 5-9 had nine new cases and ages 10-14 had 24 new cases in the past week. Those ages 15-19 had 32 new cases, the highest weekly increase since Jan. 14.

Statewide COVID-19 cases over the past week by age group: ages 0-4, 242; ages 5-9, 440; ages 10-14, 658; and ages 15-19, 844.