Cases of COVID-19 in Itasca County continue to tick up.  Last week, the county saw 55 additional cases diagnosed among residents and 96 over the past two weeks.

When measured by cases per 10,000 residents, the 14-day rate as of Feb. 9 is 20.6.  This metric, key to planning by schools, saw a recent low of 15.7 the end of January and a high of 129 in mid-November.

“Stopping a pandemic requires every person to do their part,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health division manager.  “You’ve helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 by taking steps like wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying at least six feet from others, avoiding gatherings and remaining home if you’re sick.  COVID cases are now rising in Itasca County, so it is essential that we stick with it.  And, when it’s your turn, getting vaccinated is another step you can take to help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus and spreading it to others.”

Vaccination appointments for those age 65 and older now are possible at Thrifty White and Wal-mart pharmacies in Grand Rapids, depending on supplies.

Also vaccinating those over age 65, Essentia Health Deer River, Scenic Rivers clinics in Bigfork and Cook, and Bigfork Valley are providing vaccinations as supplies are available.  Essentia recommends the use of its online MyChart tool.

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Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital receives vaccine supplies weekly, opening new appointments on Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m.  Currently, Grand Itasca is vaccinating those 75 and older.  Given high levels of calls, the clinic recommends the use of the online MyChart tool to make a vaccine appointment.

For those over age 65 who are willing and able to travel to Duluth or Minneapolis, two large vaccination sites now are available depending on supply.  More information may be found at the state’s COVID site (

Itasca residents with questions or concerns may leave them at the Itasca County COVID message line, with calls returned 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. The Itasca COVID line number is 218-327-6784.  Information about vaccination options and current local data and information may be found at the county’s website here:


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