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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely schools report more COVID cases

Keith Vandervort
Posted 10/24/20

ELY - A continuing trend of growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Ely area hit the Ely school district late this week.

In a notification to parents and local media Friday evening

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Ely schools report more COVID cases

Posted

ELY - A continuing trend of growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Ely area hit the Ely school district late this week.

In a notification to parents and local media Friday evening. ISD 696 Superintendent Erik Erie said the school’s administration team was notified by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in three members of the Ely school community.  “This affects both school buildings, Ely Memorial and Washington Elementary, with a last attendance date of Monday, Oct. 19,” he said.

Overall, among residents of the 55731 Zip Code, six new cases had been added to the data dashboard record since Sept. 24, not including the three new cases in the school community.

The additional school cases bring Ely’s cumulative total up to 43, up from 38 last week, and 36 the previous two weeks. Ely schools had remained free of COVID-19 for the past four weeks.

“We have worked with MDH to identify those (in the Ely school community) who had close contact with the case(s), and have communicated with them individually,” Erie said. “The risk of exposure for other individuals present in the building on that date is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community.”

He added, “If you were not identified to have close contact with the positive case(s) you should still monitor for symptoms of illness, but do not need to stay home unless symptoms develop. If symptoms develop, stay home and consult with your physician to determine if medical evaluation is needed. “We understand that this may create unease in our community. We have taken action to clean and sanitize the facility and are working closely with MDH to monitor the situation.”

Erie was set to provide an update Monday on the district’s COVID-19 situation to school board members.

The new Ely school cases coincide with St. Louis County’s highest bi-weekly case rates per 10,000 figure to date, reported on Thursday to be 25.5. That’s roughly double what it was when the district changed to a hybrid learning model for upper grades in September.

MDH guidelines indicate schools should consider switching to a hybrid model for all grades when the bi-weekly case rate is between 20 and 30, but individual districts work in concert with health and education specialists using local data to determine if a less-restrictive or more-restrictive model is appropriate.


The Timberjay will update this story as more information is made available.

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