The Northland recorded 1,091 cases of COVID-19 in its 10-county region Oct. 15-21, the fewest new cases since Sept. 1-16. Last week, the region recorded 1,416 new cases.

There were 14 COVID-19-related deaths recorded in the Northland this week, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Seven COVID-19-related deaths were in St. Louis County and Itasca County recorded four. Aitkin, Carlton and Douglas counties each recorded one death.

Thirty-six more people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in St. Louis County this week, according to St. Louis County Public Health. Three patients were admitted to an intensive care unit. There have been 102 people hospitalized and 13 people admitted to the ICU so far in October. Two have been pediatric patients.

St. Louis County has added additional graphs to its COVID-19 dashboard at stlouiscountymn.gov/covid19 to show the total number of new cases added each week by age group and region, as well as the case rate and vaccination rate for each region. The information is shown for three regions: Duluth area, central/southwest and northern St. Louis County. Graphs were also added for a more detailed breakdown of pediatric cases. The data is updated on Thursdays, while cumulative data is updated on weekdays.

"With this latest surge in cases coinciding with the return to in-school learning, we are trying to provide as much information as possible for parents, school leaders and all people to make informed decisions about precautions to take based on the transmission rate in their communities," said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health division director.

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New cases in Northland counties Oct. 15-21:

  • Aitkin — 59.
  • Carlton — 99.
  • Cook — 6.
  • Itasca — 228.
  • Koochiching — 12.
  • Lake — 34.
  • St. Louis — 554.
  • Ashland — 12.
  • Bayfield — 16.
  • Douglas — 71.

School outbreaks

Thirty-two Northland schools have COVID-19 outbreaks — 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:

  • Denfeld High School, East High School, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lowell Elementary, North Star Academy, Ordean East Middle School and Pike Lake Elementary, all in Duluth.
  • Eveleth-Gilbert Senior High and Franklin Elementary in Eveleth.
  • Nelle Shean Elementary in Gilbert.
  • Roosevelt Elementary and Virginia Secondary in Virginia.
  • Cherry Elementary and Cherry Secondary in Iron.
  • Hibbing High in Hibbing.
  • Mesabi East Elementary and Mesabi East Secondary in Aurora.
  • North Woods Secondary in Cook.
  • Vaughan-Steffensrud Elementary in Chisholm.
  • Minnehaha Elementary in Two Harbors.
  • Barnum Secondary in Barnum.
  • Winterquist Elementary in Esko.
  • Bigfork Elementary and Bigfork Secondary in Bigfork.
  • Grand Rapids Senior High and Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids.
  • King Elementary in Deer River.
  • Nashwauk Secondary in Nashwauk.
  • Falls Elementary and Falls Secondary in International Falls.
  • Littlefork-Big Falls Elementary and Littlefork-Big Falls Secondary in Littlefork.

According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 134 of the county's 554 cases this week were in people younger than 20 years old. People age 20-24 and 35-39 accounted for the largest case total in the county, with 43 people in each age category testing positive this week.

The second-highest total of new cases was reported in people age 45-49, with 40 positive cases.

St. Louis County

Of the 1,091 new cases in the Northland this week, 554 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 802 cases in the county.

New cases in St. Louis County cities Oct. 15-21, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

  • Duluth — 261.
  • Hibbing — 56.
  • Virginia — 30.
  • Eveleth — 23.
  • Hermantown — 20.
  • Chisholm — 18.
  • Gilbert— 16.
  • Mountain Iron — 14.
  • Angora, Aurora, Orr, Proctor — 10 each.
  • Saginaw — 9.
  • Ely — 8.
  • Babbitt — 7.
  • Cook — 6.
  • Hoyt Lakes, Soudan, Tower — 5 each.

All other St. Louis County cities recorded fewer than five cases.

As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 6.5%, down 0.5% from last week. The county conducted 8,466 tests Oct. 15-21.

Carlton County

Carlton County logged 99 new cases in the last week. Those new cases came from 1,767 tests, putting this week's testing positivity rate at 5.6%, down 1% from last week.

New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes Oct. 15-21, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

  • Cloquet — 37.
  • Carlton — 21.
  • Esko — 17.
  • Moose Lake — 15.
  • Barnum — 8.

All other Carlton County cities recorded fewer than five cases.

St. Louis, Carlton, Itasca and Aitkin counties had positive test rates above 5% this week. Itasca and Aitkin counties both had positive test rates higher than 10%, with 10.1% and 11.5%, respectively. Lake, Cook and Koochiching counties had positive test rates lower than 5%.

In the Northland, 234,102 residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 223,165 residents are fully vaccinated.

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

  • Aitkin — 53%.
  • Carlton — 60%.
  • Cook — 62%.
  • Itasca — 50%.
  • Koochiching — 50%.
  • Lake — 62%.
  • St. Louis — 60%.
  • Ashland — 63%.
  • Bayfield — 68%.
  • Douglas — 61%.

This story originally contained an incorrect number of cases in Duluth. It was updated at 7:21 p.m. Oct. 21 with the correct number. The News Tribune regrets the error.