The new cases have been linked to travel, social gatherings and youth sports activities.

On Monday, Ely Public School District reported on Facebook that the number of cases within the school had jumped to 21 cases, 18 of which are linked to the Memorial High School building. The other three cases are linked to Washington Elementary building.

The county's public health department advised the school district to do a two-week reset. Beginning this week, all students grades 6-12 have returned to distance learning, until April 6 if case numbers go down.

St. Louis County Public Health Director Amy Westbrook said in a news release that even in the midst of a vaccine rollout, people need to stay vigilant to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

"We know people are tired, and probably have been experiencing information overload about COVID precautions this past year," Westbrook said. "But outbreaks such as what we've seen in several of our communities in the last two weeks makes it very clear that we can't let our guard down yet."

County public health officials are reminding people that anyone identified as a close contact to a confirmed case, which means they were within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer, should quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms. Those who are not symptomatic should wait five to seven days after exposure before getting tested.

The only exception to the quarantine guidelines is for people who received their second dose of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or their one dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two weeks prior, according to a release from the county.

State health officials are already recommending students get tested at least once every two weeks, while student-athletes should be tested weekly.

On Wednesday, Minnesota health officials reported 51 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death in Northeastern Minnesota.

The person who died was a Lake County resident in their late 70s. They were among nine new deaths reported in Minnesota. Lake County has now lost 19 residents to COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported two days of new cases on Wednesday after experiencing technical difficulties on Tuesday.

Douglas County logged 13 new cases for those two days while Ashland County recorded 3 new cases. No new cases were reported in Bayfield County.

Wisconsin health officials reported 10 new COVID-19 deaths in the state, none of which were in the three-county region.

New cases and seven-day averages in Northland counties:

  • Aitkin — 1; 0.9.
  • Carlton — 8; 7.1.
  • Cook — 0; 0.6.
  • Itasca — 7; 11.4.
  • Koochiching — 12; 3.1.
  • Lake — 2; 1.
  • St. Louis — 21; 29.4.
  • Ashland — 3; 1.
  • Bayfield — 0; 0.7.
  • Douglas — 13; 4.4.

Another 1,200 Northeastern Minnesota residents have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total to more than 110,000 people with at least one dose in the seven-county region. That includes people who have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas counties collectively logged another 120 new first vaccinations on Wednesday. More than 22,000 people in those three counties have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

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