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Weekly COVID-19 case numbers double in Northland

Most of the 10-county region's new cases were in St. Louis County.

FSA Coronavirus local

New COVID-19 cases recorded this week in the Northland doubled numbers from the week prior.

Nearly 260 people in the 10-county region tested positive in the last week. After months of steady decline, new case numbers in the Northland are returning back to where they were in mid-to-late May, shortly after those ages 12-15 became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The coronavirus's delta variant accounts for most of the cases in Minnesota and those infected with it have a higher viral load. This means they carry higher amounts of the virus, Itasca County Public Health Division Manager Kelly Chandler said in a news release.

“If you are wondering why this is significant, it means persons with delta become more physically ill than with previous strains of the virus," Chandler said. "And, the virus spreads more easily from person to person."

Only 0.1% of the state's cases are among vaccinated people, Chandler said. She urged people to get vaccinated if they're eligible to prevent hospitalizations, deaths and disease spread.

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Three more people in the Northland have died from COVID-19 and its complications: two from St. Louis County and one person from Lake County, all above age 80.

New cases in Northland counties July 30 to Aug. 5:

  • Aitkin — 10.
  • Carlton — 22.
  • Cook — 2.
  • Itasca — 37.
  • Koochiching — 2.
  • Lake — 8.
  • St. Louis — 146.
  • Ashland — 1.
  • Bayfield — 11.
  • Douglas — 18.

In Northeastern Minnesota, St. Louis, Aitkin and Lake counties all had seven-day testing positivity rates greater than 5% as of Thursday.

Health experts view positivity rates at 5% and above as an indicator of widespread community transmission. All the counties in Northeastern Minnesota largely moved away from positivity rates above that threshold in late May.

St. Louis County

Another 146 St. Louis County residents tested positive in the last week. That's an 85% increase in the number of cases logged the week prior and the most cases the county has recorded since mid-May.

The county's seven-day testing positivity rate hit the 5% threshold for the first time since early April. About 5.2% of people who tested for the coronavirus in the last week tested positive.

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New cases in St. Louis County cities July 30 to Aug. 5, according to St. Louis County Public Health:

  • Duluth — 48.
  • Hibbing — 18.
  • Virginia — 14.
  • Embarrass — 8.
  • Proctor — 5.
  • Saginaw, Cook, Hermantown — each logged 4.

Carlton County

Another 22 people in Carlton County have tested positive in the last week.

That's 19 more cases than the county logged the week prior and the most weekly cases in the county since mid-May.

The county's seven-day testing positivity rate was 4.2% as of Thursday, meaning that percent of the 530 people who were tested in the last week were diagnosed with COVID-19.

New cases in Carlton County ZIP codes between July 30 and Aug. 5, according to the Minnesota Department of Health:

  • Cloquet — 17.
  • Esko — 3.
  • Carlton — 2.
  • Moose Lake — 1.
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