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Northland 7-day COVID-19 case total highest since 2020

Seventeen COVID-related deaths were recorded in the region Jan. 7-13.

FSA Coronavirus local
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DULUTH — The Northland had 2,750 new COVID-19 cases Jan. 7-13 — the highest seven-day total since 2020.

The number is more than double last week's 1,209 cases and the highest since Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2020, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The Northland recorded 1,186 of those cases on Tuesday, Jan. 11 — including 692 in St. Louis County alone. Some of the newly reported cases were part of a backlog of tests from the Minnesota Department of Health that were more than a week old. The single-day total of new cases was in the same range as recent seven-day case totals in the Northland.

Tests reported by the state health departments do not include positive at-home test results. The Minnesota Department of Health reported 40 new cases in Cook County in the past seven days, but Cook County Public Health reports 97 new cases Jan. 7-13 due to residents reporting their positive at-home antigen tests to Cook County Public Health and Grand Portage Health Services.

St. Louis County recorded 1,514 cases in the seven-day period, the most recorded since Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2020, when the county had 1,614 cases — its highest-ever seven-day total.


Seventeen COVID-related deaths were recorded Jan. 7-13 in the Northland, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

St. Louis County recorded 10 COVID deaths in the seven-day period. Itasca County recorded five deaths in the last week. Koochiching and Carlton counties each recorded one.

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services do not provide the vaccination status of individual people who die or are hospitalized due to COVID.

Fifty people were hospitalized Jan. 7-13 with COVID in St. Louis County, including three pediatric patients, according to St. Louis County Public Health. Five people were admitted to an intensive care unit in that time.

As of Jan. 13, 54 people have been hospitalized so far this month with COVID and six COVID patients have been admitted to an intensive care unit in the county.

New cases in Northland counties Jan. 7-13:

  • Aitkin — 67.
  • Carlton — 193.
  • Cook — 40.
  • Itasca — 384.
  • Koochiching — 48.
  • Lake — 61.
  • St. Louis — 1,514.
  • Ashland — 70.
  • Bayfield — 84.
  • Douglas — 289.

School outbreaks

Thirty-nine Northland schools have COVID-19 outbreaks. The following schools listed have 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:

  • Duluth: Bay View Elementary, East High School, Homecroft Elementary, Laura MacArthur Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lowell Elementary, Ordean East Middle School, Piedmont Elementary, Pike Lake Elementary, Raleigh Primary/El Academy and Stella Maris Academy (Holy Rosary and St. John's campuses).
  • Hermantown: Hermantown Elementary, Hermantown Middle School and Hermantown Senior High.
  • Proctor: Proctor Senior High and A. I. Jedlicka Middle School.
  • Virginia: Roosevelt Elementary* and Virginia Secondary.
  • Hibbing: Hibbing High and Lincoln Elementary.
  • Aurora: Mesabi East Elementary.
  • Babbitt: Northeast Range Secondary.
  • Culver: South Ridge Elementary and South Ridge Secondary.
  • Two Harbors: Two Harbors Secondary.*
  • Cloquet: Cloquet Senior High and Churchill Elementary.
  • Esko: Winterquist Elementary and Lincoln Secondary.
  • Moose Lake: Moose Lake Elementary.
  • Aitkin: Rippleside Elementary.
  • McGregor: McGregor Secondary.
  • Grand Rapids: West Rapids Elementary and Grand Rapids Senior High.
  • Keewatin: Keewatin-Naushwauk Elementary.*
  • International Falls: Falls Elementary and Falls Secondary.
  • Littlefork: Littlefork-Big Falls Elementary.

* indicates newly added school.


St. Louis County

Of the 2,750 new cases in the Northland this week, 1,514 were in St. Louis County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Last week, there were 748 cases in the county.

Cases in St. Louis County cities Jan 7-13, according to St. Louis County Health:

  • Duluth — 1,083.
  • Hibbing — 130.
  • Hermantown — 91.
  • Virginia — 62.
  • Eveleth — 39.
  • Ely — 34.
  • Saginaw — 33.
  • Aurora, Chisholm — 20 each.
  • Gilbert, Hoyt Lakes, Mountain Iron — 12 each.
  • Biwabik, Floodwood, Orr — 7 each.
  • Embarrass — 6.
  • Angora, Cook, Tower — 5 each.

All other cities in St. Louis County recorded less than five cases this week.
As of Jan. 13, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 10.1%, up 0.7% from last week. The county reported results from 14,933 tests Jan. 7-13.

According to data from St. Louis County Public Health, 344 cases were recorded in people younger than 20 in the seven-day period Jan. 7-13. People age 20-24 accounted for the largest case total in the county, with 293 people in the age category testing positive.

The second-highest total of new cases was reported in people age 25-29, with 171 reported cases.

Carlton County

Carlton County logged 193 new cases Jan. 7-13. As of Thursday, the county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 5.2%, down 3.7% from last week. The county reported results from 3,692 tests Jan. 7-13.

New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes Jan. 7-13, according to Minnesota Department of Health data:

  • Cloquet — 93.
  • Esko — 38.
  • Carlton — 23.
  • Moose Lake — 21.
  • Barnum — 16.
  • Wrenshall — 6.
  • Kettle River — 5.

All other Carlton County cities recorded fewer than five cases.
All seven Northland Minnesota counties had positive test rates of 5% or above this week. St. Louis, Cook, Itasca and Aitkin counties had rates higher than 10%. Cook County's positive test rate was the highest at 13.8%, with 40 positive cases reported from 289 tests in seven days.



This week, the Northland reached the milestone of 250,000 residents becoming fully vaccinated against COVID. As of Jan. 13, 265,483 residents have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine — about 67% of the Northland's total population — and 250,161 residents are fully vaccinated — about 63% of the total Northland population. Between Jan. 7 and 13, 1,085 people received a first dose of vaccine and 1,158 people became fully vaccinated.

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

  • Aitkin — 60%.
  • Carlton — 69%.
  • Cook — 85%.
  • Itasca — 58%.
  • Koochiching — 57%.
  • Lake — 71%.
  • St. Louis — 68%.
  • Ashland — 70%.
  • Bayfield — 73%.
  • Douglas — 66%.
Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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