St. Louis County has reached another undesirable benchmark in the times of COVID-19.
The Minnesota Health Department announced Tuesday that 42 more individuals had tested positive for the coronavirus in the county, bringing the total to 2,007. That means that 10.8 out of every 1,000 people in the county has been infected with the coronavirus, according to the Star Tribune’s online tracker that updates information as it becomes available. Health experts say that the total number is bound to be higher given the limited testing options and asymptomatic individuals who do not realize they may have the virus in the county with roughly 200,000 residents.
Forty-nine individuals in the county have died of coronavirus-related effects.
Data from the St. Louis County COVID-19 Dashboard shows the northeast cities of Duluth with 1,188 cases; Hibbing, 103; Hermantown, 71; Eveleth, 53; Virginia, 49; Ely, 36; Chisholm, 28; and Gilbert, 21.
Most of the people infected are between the ages of 20-24 and 15-19, while the majority of deaths occur in individuals over the age of 70, a troubling note in a region with a large aging population where numerous cases have been reported in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
The increase in regional cases mirrors jumps in neighboring counties in northeastern Minnesota.
As of Tuesday, Itasca County had 16 coronavirus-related deaths and 461 cases, or 10.21 per 1,000 people, according to the state Health Department and the Star Tribune’s tracker. The county had 107 cases in the past seven days.
Meantime, Koochiching County had four deaths and 128 cases, or 10.7 per 1,000 people.
State health officials on Tuesday reported there were 954 news cases of COVID-19 statewide, increasing the total to 105,740 for the year in Minnesota. The data shows an all-time high--38 percent--of infections coming from unknown community sources.
About 90 percent of people infected with the virus have since recovered. The state also confirmed four more deaths, which raised the total to 2,087 people who died from the virus this year, many of whom lived in assisted-living facilities with underlying health conditions.
Health officials in Minnesota and St. Louis County have released information on testing for anyone who attended President Donald Trump’s Duluth campaign rally. The president tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
"Based on the 'six feet for 15 minutes' assessment, the likelihood of someone in the audience catching the virus from someone on stage is fairly minimal," Amy Westbrook, director of St. Louis County Public Health Division, said in a statement last Friday. "However, with an estimated attendance of at least 3,000 people at the rally, there's a pretty good likelihood that some of the attendees had the virus and were contagious, so as we would with any event, we strongly encourage participants to quarantine, monitor themselves for symptoms and consider getting tested."
County officials noted that the incubation time for COVID-19 is “two to 14 days, with the majority of cases developing symptoms within five to seven days. People who are not showing symptoms should wait to be tested until at least five to seven days after exposure, or should get tested a second time after 14 days.”
As of Monday, more than 300 people had pre-registered for a free COVID-19 testing event held Tuesday in Ely, one of several similar examples of the county and Iron Range based cities partnering to increase testing capabilities.