After many weeks of unusually high rates of COVID infection, Itasca County is moving closer to the rest of Minnesota and the region.  Still, the virus continues to take a toll on Itasca residents, including the death of an elderly woman.

Vaccinations of Itasca County residents continue to rise, with 53 percent of all those eligible (age 12 and older) receiving at least their first dose.  Among those age 65 and older, the rate is 83 percent.

As of June 2, cases of COVID among Itasca County residents numbered 28, continuing a downward trend.  The week before that, 71 cases had been diagnosed.  The county’s most recent 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents is 25.7. 

“Stay strong, Itasca.  COVID is not done with us yet,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health division manager.  “If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk for this very serious, easily spread and sometimes deadly, illness.  You may remember that in 2020, our first spike in cases was after July 4. 

 “The great news is that vaccines are working, and working well.  For those who are fully vaccinated, the goal line is not just in sight, it’s here.”

All three COVID vaccines are available throughout Itasca County at clinics, hospitals and pharmacies for those ages 12 and older.  Special vaccination events hosted by Itasca County Public Health and others also may be found at the county’s website (


For those who are homebound or have a loved one who is homebound, Minnesota Department of Health has created a special vaccination hotline.  MDH’s hotline will take names of those who are unable to get out to receive a vaccine, then connected them with a local vaccinator who can help.  The hotline number is 1-833-431-2053.

Itasca residents with questions or concerns may leave them at the Itasca County COVID message line, with calls returned 8:00 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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