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Minnesota reports hospitalizations, deaths of school staff, students

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

(Graphic by Adelle Whitefoot / awhitefoot@duluthnews.com)

The Minnesota Department of Health began reporting hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 cases in schools Thursday.

The data includes hospitalizations, stays in intensive care units and deaths statewide among staff and students working or attending school at a pre-K-12 building while they were able to spread COVID-19. All Minnesota schools are represented, including public, nonpublic and tribal schools.

According to data released Thursday, since the start of the school year, 91 staff members have been hospitalized, 14 spent time in the ICU and three have died of COVID-19 complications. Twenty-one students have been hospitalized, six have spent time in the ICU and none have died.

From Jan. 10-16, there were 348 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 155 new cases among staff and 193 new cases among students.

Two Northland school buildings 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.

Winterquist Elementary School in Esko and Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids were removed from the list.

As of Thursday, seven new school buildings were added to the list and 37 were removed for a total of 70 remaining on the list.

Grand Rapids High School, added to the list Oct. 8, is the only Northland school building still on the state outbreak list.

From Jan. 3-16, 291 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 92 reported two to four confirmed cases and nine reported more than five.

Statewide, 12 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 Dec. 27 through Jan. 9 were:

  • 22.74 in Aitkin County.

  • 39.11 in Carlton County.

  • 16.95 in Cook County.

  • 25 in Itasca County.

  • 55.82 in Lake County.

  • 45.78 in St. Louis County.

  • 56.9 in the Duluth area.

  • 29.7 in Central/Southern St. Louis County.

  • 24.8 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 were 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. 19 were:

  • 30.8 in Aitkin County.

  • 34.9 in Carlton County.

  • 11.1 in Cook County.

  • 26.8 in Itasca County.

  • 66.6 in Lake County.

  • 38.3 in St. Louis County.

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