COVID-19

Essentia Health President Optimistic, Yet Cautious as Pandemic Continues in 2021

Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health, Says Northlanders Must Remain Cautious as COVID Vaccinations Continue

DULUTH, Minn. – While cases of COVID-19 continue to slightly decrease across Minnesota, hospitals in the Northland are still feeling the strain. Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health, chatted with FOX 21’s Brett Scott Wednesday morning about vaccine distribution, the current situation inside Northland hospitals, and the outlook for 2021. “I want to thank everyone in the Northland for…

Beargrease Without Fans Hard But Better Than Canceled Mushers, Businesses Say

Bar and restaurant owners said Beargrease is the busiest time of their year, so not having spectators will hurt business.

DULUTH, Minn.- The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are stretching to the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, causing changes including not allowing fans to watch in-person. “Safety has always been the #1 priority for our organization whether it’s a COVID year or non-COVID year,” race spokesperson Monica Hendrickson said. Some of this year’s changes include closing all buildings used along the…

Silver Bay Veterans Home to Administer Covid-19 Vaccine to Residents and Staff

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are using the Moderna vaccine. 

SILVER BAY, Minn. – On Wednesday, the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay will begin to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to Residents and staff. The Minnesota Veterans Homes are using the Moderna vaccine. The vaccine is being administered by clinical leaders at each location. Other veterans homes across the state will begin their vaccinations this week. The vaccinations come after…

Sir Ben’s Welcomes Back Customers for Outdoor Dining with Fire Pit Tables

The new toasty furniture makes it easier for customers to come and follow Gov. Walz's updated orders.

DULUTH, Minn.- Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake in Duluth’s Central Hillside got creative to welcome customers back outside, per Governor Tim Walz’s updated restrictions on Minnesota businesses which went into effect Saturday. New fire pit tables powered by propane tanks replaced most of their patio furniture, giving customers a toasty way to enjoy a beverage and food. On Wednesday…

Covid-19 Vaccines Distributed Throughout Wisconsin

Almost 50,000 doses were given to eight hubs throughout the state of Wisconsin so far this week to a small amount of healthcare providers.

MADISON, Wisc. – According to Wisconsin’s Department of Health, thousands of vaccines have been distributed across the state. Almost 50,000 doses were given to eight hubs throughout the state of Wisconsin so far this week to a small amount of healthcare providers. So far, almost two hundred vaccines have been administered, but how the vaccine will be administered in nursing…

Wisconsin Health Leaders Explain Vaccine Distribution as State Gets First Shipment

Meanwhile, the spread of the virus isn't slowing down in the state. 

MADISON, Wis.- Wisconsin received 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, with about 35,000 more doses expected by the end of the week. The first rounds are going to frontline healthcare workers and to nursing home residents in a couple weeks. The general public will not have access to the vaccine for months as the state deploys this historic rollout…

Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria Opens in Esko

ESKO, Minn. – A familiar restaurant has moved into the building previously occupied by Eskomo Pizza Pies in Esko.  Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria, which spent nearly four decades in western Duluth as Mike’s Western Cafe, opened up in early November. With the owner growing up in the town, he says that despite the pandemic, the community response has been uplifting…

Gov Walz: ‘The end of COVID is out there’ with Vaccine Rollout Likely Next Week

If approved, the state would receive 46,800 shots from Pfizer by next week.

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz unveiled the state’s plan for getting Minnesotans vaccinated against coronavirus, some as soon as the coming weeks. “This day is real, it’s happening, it is really here. In Minnesota, we’re prepared for it,” said the Governor in a press conference Tuesday. “We are on the doorstep of starting this.” According to the Minnesota…

Gov. Evers Asks Wisconsin for Caution Over Holidays As COVID-19 Surge Continues

Wisconsin is getting close to having 420,000 total cases since March with 3,800 deaths.

MADISON, Wis.- Wisconsin will get 50,000 vaccines to start once it’s approved and will first go to long-term care facility residents and healthcare workers. Governor Evers said in a virtual briefing Tuesday that even through the United States is closer to approving the vaccine, there’s no backing away from all the precautions we still need to take to keep ourselves,…

Wisconsin Health Officials Discuss How COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Distributed

WI DHS stressed the safety of the vaccines, and how long they still have to go before reaching the public.

MADISON, Wis.- In Wisconsin Monday, health experts held a news conference answering COVID-19 vaccine questions. They say of the two vaccines awaiting FDA approval, Pfizer’s would require cold storage at -70°C±10°C for up to 10 days unopened in the state’s Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition (HERC) regions before going to clinics. Moderna’s, which does not require cold storage, would go directly to…

Gov. Walz, MDH Trim Recommended Quarantine to 10 or 7 Days After COVID Exposure

A full 14-day quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 is still the most safe, officials said.

ST.PAUL, Minn.- Governor Tim Walz and state health leaders announced changes Monday to how long people should quarantine if exposed to someone with coronavirus, and also prepped the state for new mitigation efforts to come within the week. “The fact of the matter is a 14-day quarantine is the best thing to do. But the science has been refined enough…

Drive-Thru Event Gives Back to Range Community Members

The annual community connect event is usually held in October.

VIRGINIA, Minn. – The Miners Memorial Building in Virginia held a different type of opportunity for community members to give back on Thursday.  The annual community connect event is usually held in October. Now, because of Covid-19 the event has changed to a drive-thru experience while still providing community members on the range in need of winter wear like hats,…

Superior City Council Approves CARES Act Fund Request for Housing, Community Programs

This could bring about $139,000 to help with housing programs and other community aid organizations. 

SUPERIOR, Wis.- New federal CARES Act money could be going to help housing and community development programs in Superior. The Superior City Council Tuesday voted to approve the 2019 Community Development Block Grant Cooperative Action Plan authorizing staff to submit a plan to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This could bring about $139,000 to help with housing programs…

Caution Again Advised for Christmas; Vaccine on Horizon for Public in 2021 Gov. Walz Says

After a surge in cases over Thanksgiving, the Governor said guidance will likely remain for Christmas, and public access to the vaccine in 2021.

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Tim Walz and State Health leaders spoke out in a COVID-19 briefing Monday after a Thanksgiving weekend like no other. They stressed continued mitigation efforts by Minnesotans, with the horizon of a vaccine in the distance — in 2021. “Minnesotans did a pretty good job staying home, but there’s some data on movement especially the airport…

Cloquet VFW Delivers Thanksgiving Meals to Community Members

Dozens of community members took the time to cook, distribute, and deliver these meals.

CLOQUET, Minn. – Volunteers for the Cloquet VFW began preparing Thanksgiving meals in the early hours of Thursday morning. Dozens of community members took the time to cook, distribute, and deliver these meals. On a day when Thanksgiving will be different for some, they are doing their part to make sure everyone has something to be thankful for. Check out…

Superior Restaurants See Extra Customers from Minnesota After Gov. Walz’s Restrictions

While business owners in Superior said they welcome the extra business, they said they feel for the restaurants suffering in Duluth.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Restaurants in Superior are seeing more customers from across the bridge four days into Minnesota’s four-week-long restrictions closing in-person dining. Governor Tim Walz turned the dial back Friday, to try and keep the mounting COVID-19 case numbers from maxing out capacity at hospitals statewide. While business owners in Superior said they welcome the extra business, they said they…

Local Entertainment Venues Awaiting Financial Relief

With the future of some of these local businesses resting on seeing financial relief at the state level all they can do now is wait.

DULUTH, Minn. – Entertainment Venues are among the many Northland businesses hit hard financially by the pandemic. During these next four weeks, they will get some help through the Minnesota Governor’s recently announced plan for a Business Assistance Program. Without this relief, they may not be able to survive. Fresh off of a multi-million dollar renovation in 2019, Skyline Lanes…

Plans Underway for 2021 Lake Superior Ice Festival with COVID-19 Changes

The Ice Festival is tentatively set for the last weekend of January, but officials said nothing is for sure with the pandemic.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The annual Lake Superior Ice Festival in Superior is so far still a go this year, with changes to follow COVID-19 health guidelines. According to organizers the popular snow-slide is expected to be back, you’ll just need to bring your own sleds this time around with a limited supply of disinfected ones available for those who won’t be…

Gov. Walz Expected to Force Tighter COVID Restrictions on Sports, Dining, Gyms — Again

The Governor is expected to announce new restrictions on bars, restaurants, sports, gyms, and social gatherings Wednesday Evening.

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Tim Walz is preparing to announce sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions during a statewide televised speech Wednesday night –as the amount of Minnesotans defying the rules he said, is hampering the state’s fight against the virus and pushing hospitals to the brink. According to a spokesperson with the Governor Tuesday, those new limits will involve bars, restaurants,…

Nurses Make Emotional Plea Backing Gov. Walz’s Frustration at Lack of ‘Social Compliance’ of COVID Guidelines

"I think it's obvious we're going to have to do more mitigation efforts," Gov. Walz said, as the state is expected to surpass 300,00 cases by Thanksgiving.

ST. PAUL, Minn.- A frustrated Minnesota Governor Tim Walz looked to nurses and doctors from around the state to illustrate how the COVID-19 surge is pushing them to their limits — in an effort to appeal to those who may not be following prevention guidelines. “What I recognize right now is that we’re in a place in this country where…

Proctors School Added to MN Department of Health Outbreak List

The district cites staff shortages and increasing infection rates

PROCTOR, Minn. – Bay View Elementary School in Proctor was placed on the Minnesota Department of Health’s Outbreak list on Thursday. It’s meant for school buildings which have five or more reported Covid-19 cases between students and staff in a two-week period. Proctor previously announced they will continue with their distance learning model through January 4th. The district cites staff…

Tough Road Ahead After Gov. Walz’s New Restrictions, Local Bars Say

The restrictions limit bars and restaurants to below 50% capacity with no more than 150 people total, with mandatory closure 10p-4a.

DULUTH, Minn.- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz turned the dial back Tuesday, with new COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings and bars and restaurants in particular. Some local bar owners and staff throughout Duluth spoke out. Gov. Walz says these rules are because 71% of COVID cases from June to November were spread through private social gatherings, weddings, funerals, and bars. In…

Superior Police Work to Mitigate COVID-19 Exposure Within Department

To date, six officers have tested positive since March and only one officer is in quarantine awaiting test results.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The Superior Police Department is also dealing with COVID-19 exposures within its department of 65 officers and staff. To date, six officers have tested positive since March and only one officer is in quarantine awaiting test results. Assistant Chief John Kiel told FOX 21 most officers have a take-home vehicle and are encouraged to spend as little time…

Salvation Army Short of Thousands of Red Kettle Bell-Ringers Due to COVID-19

Right now more than 2,300 shifts are unfilled at the 17 kettle locations in Duluth. 

DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth Salvation Army is in desperate need of bell ringers for its annual Red Kettle Campaign which starts Saturday. Right now more than 2,300 shifts are unfilled at the 17 kettle locations in Duluth. Salvation Army officials said lack of volunteers is mostly due to COVID-19 fears, but bell-ringing is safe they say. All one has to…

Record-Breaking Growth in COVID-19 Cases Causing Concern in Northland

St. Louis County Health Officials said in the last two months, half of the county's coronavirus cases have been a result of community spread.

DULUTH, Minn.- As the state of Minnesota reported their highest daily COVID-19 case amount since the pandemic began City of Duluth officials, St. Louis County Public Health, School leaders and top doctors from St. Luke’s and Essentia say that upward trend is visible in the Twin Ports as well. Since Wednesday, St. Louis County is reporting a record jump of…

Superior Seeing Lower Unemployment Numbers

After high unemployment rates in the spring, the Mayor attributes the drop in those numbers to more businesses opening up.

SUPERIOR, Wisc. – The Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development has recently released unemployment numbers showing a decline in the month of September for Superior. After high unemployment rates in the spring, the Mayor attributes the drop in those numbers to more businesses opening up. The city saw numbers drop from 21% in April to just under 7% in September. That…

St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Expert Discusses COIVD-19 Severity, Holiday Concerns

Dr. Andrew Thompson is an Infectious Disease Physician at St. Luke's in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – Daily COVID-19 testing data released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in recent weeks, and it’s prompting local health experts to speak out with a reminder for residents. “The recent rise in COVID-19 cases is definitely causing concern,” said St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Dr. Andrew Thompson. Thompson…

Gov. Evers Limits Indoor Capacity in Wisconsin, Set to Use $100 Million to Help Small Businesses

No more than 25% the total capacity of an indoor public space is allowed beginning Thursday until November 6th. 

MADISON, Wis.- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced Tuesday he is dialing back the opening of the state, issuing his third emergency order to limit indoor building capacity to 25%, effective Thursday. While ramping up restrictions the Governor also announced $100 million in additional funding to support the state’s small businesses. No more than 25% the total capacity of an indoor…

MDH Continues to Urge Duluth Trump Rally Attendees Get Tested Frequently for COVID-19

State health officials said it's important that those who attended to get tested frequently until they've cleared the two-week mark. 

ST. PAUL, Minn.- As President Donald Trump returns to the White House after being treated for the virus Monday, Minnesota state health officials continue to urge people who were at his rally in Duluth to get tested several times over the next few weeks. In a COVID-19 Briefing Monday, Minnesota Department of Health leaders said just because you test negative…

White House Press Secretary Tests Positive for COVID-19

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Will Begin Quarantine Immediately

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says she has tested positive for COVID-19. This comes days after President Donald Trump tested positive for the cornorvirus. McEnany says in a statement that she tested positive Monday morning and is experiencing no symptoms at this time. She spoke briefly with reporters Sunday evening, but says that no members of…

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Health Officials Urge State to Take Virus Seriously Ahead of Winter

"If we do nothing differently, I would say it's a high likelihood that this is going to get much worse before it gets better," said the Chief Medical Officer. 

WISCONSIN- As the state of Wisconsin comes off of their highest single day jump in COVID-19 cases this weekend, Governor Tony Evers and public health officials urge Wisconsinites to take the virus more seriously going into the winter. Positive cases in Wisconsin increased by more than 2,000 each day for the past four days. Monday, there were 2,367 more cases….

MDH Warns Against Large Unsafe Gatherings as State Nears 100,000 COVID-19 Cases

Seven new deaths were also reported Monday, meaning 2,015 Minnesotans have now lost their lives to the virus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

DULUTH, Minn.- Minnesota Department of Health leaders spoke out Monday, as the total COVID-19 cases statewide gets closer to 100,000. After reaching a milestone over the weekend of 2,003,115 tests performed so far, 936 new cases were reported Monday, bringing the total to 97,638 since the pandemic began. Seven new deaths were also reported Monday, meaning 2,015 Minnesotans have now…

Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day Hits Home for Duluth Firefighter Who Lost Father in Line of Duty

Duluth Fire Equipment Operator Dylan Mills remembers his father Captain Robert Mills, while also spreading awareness of the many issues firefighters face.

DULUTH, Minn,- Flags flew at half-staff throughout the state of Minnesota Sunday, ordered by Governor Tim Walz to remember the firefighters across the state who have given their lives to keep the public safe, on Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day. “It’s a day that’s honored every year,” said Duluth Fire Equipment Operator, Dylan Mills. “Just kind of a time of…

St. Louis County Sees Highest Daily Jump in COVID-19 Cases; Many Linked to College Students

Of Friday's 73 new cases, 19 involve college-aged individuals.

DULUTH, Minn.- St. Louis County reported it’s highest jump in COVID-19 cases Friday, and what’s alarming health officials — much of those new cases are college students. On Friday the county reported 73 new confirmed cases; the previous highest jump was 50 just last week. With this spike, there were more cases over one day than there were over the entire…

Free COVID-19 Testing Event Planned in Itasca County

Free Drive-Thru Testing is Happening Sept. 23 at the Itasca County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – COVID-19 continues to take a toll on employers and employees across Minnesota. Thursday during a weekly update from Itasca County Public Health Department, local health officials and management from area companies expressed the importance of communications between employees and employers when it comes to COVID-19 cases in the workplace. Employees are encouraged to brush up on…

COVID-19 Cases Confirmed at Three Duluth Schools in First Week Open

So far all that have been confirmed is at least one positive case each at Lincoln Park Middle School, Denfeld High School, and Lowell Elementary. 

DULUTH, Minn.- With just one week into the school year, at least three cases of coronavirus have been confirmed within the Duluth School District. So far all that have been confirmed is at least one positive case each at Lincoln Park Middle School, Denfeld High School, and Lowell Elementary. We reached out to ISD 709 Tuesday for a total count…

UMD Students Return to Campus on First Day of In-Person Classes

The halls were considerably bear on the first day of in-person classes with many students learning partially or completely online this year.

DULUTH, Minn.- After a two-week pause to work on safely welcoming students back, the University of Minnesota Duluth campus opened back up to students Monday. However, many instructors still have their classes completely online, leaving the few students present to seek out the campus as a place to study, and escape. “It’s been a little weird walking in and seeing…

Donald Trump Jr. Makes Pitch for Father on Duluth Stage

"They say we can't win Minnesota. I disagree, what about you?" he said at the podium at the DECC.

DULUTH, Minn.- To a DECC ballroom of 250 Trump supporters, Donald Trump Jr. used his “Make America Great Again” event to bolster his father’s first term in office while bashing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. “They say we can’t win Minnesota. I disagree, what about you?” he said at the podium to an eruption of cheers. The eldest Trump son…

Health Officials Stress Importance of Influenza Vaccine as Flu Season Looms Ahead

The CDC says they have developed a test that will check for seasonal flu viruses, and the virus that causes COVID-19. 

DULUTH, Minn.- While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most prominent public health concern since march, each winter brings a new flu season. Which is why officials are urging people to get vaccinated. “Now is the time to get it,” stressed Diane Seiloff, Adult Services Coordinator for St. Louis County Public Health. Generally, flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore…

OMC Smokehouse Shuts Doors Temporarily After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

The restaurant says they will be identifying anyone who may have been in contact with the employee and encourage them to get tested.

  DULUTH, Minn. — A popular restaurant in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Neighborhood, OMC Smokehouse is closing temporarily due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19 Sunday. “We are just working on trying to understand this and trying to do it the right way,” said owner Tom Hanson. In a post on their Facebook page Sunday, OMC Smokehouse said they will…

COVID-19 Creates New Connections in the World of Ballroom Dance

Superior Ballroom Dance Studio is Seeing a Slight Increase in Customers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

DULUTH, Minn. – Small businesses across the Northland are facing extreme financial challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From restaurants to boutiques, and even ballroom dance studios, changes are being made daily to keep clients engaged and revenue coming in. “I like to dance all day long and share knowledge,” said Benjamin Welch, head instructor at Superior Ballroom Dance Studio. “I…

Superior Mayor’s 2021 Budget Proposes More Officer Training, Adding Social Worker to Police Dept.

The budget makes use of the roughly $385,000 surplus from last year.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Superior Mayor Jim Paine announced his 2021 budget proposal Monday. Calling it the most ambitious budget of his administration, it includes the largest investment into police training in the city’s history, and adding a social worker to the department. According to Mayor Paine, excess funds of $385,468 from the year 2019 will help the city forward through the…

Businesses on Iron Range Work to Recover After Slower Summer Due to COVID-19

Businesses owners say they're keeping their heads up, while local officials say the Fall and Winter seasons look bleak.

VIRGINIA, Minn.- As it has everywhere, the pandemic has put a damper on business on the Iron Range this summer — a time when many businesses just began opening back up after three months shut down. “It’s hard to know what’s going to happen with the virus,” Brooke Forseen, an employee at Canelake’s Candies in Virginia said. “It’s really just…

Iron Range Businesses Recognized by Chamber of Commerce with Awards Ceremony

The normal awards banquet scheduled this year was canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions, but the chamber still found a way to honor Range businesses. 

VIRGINIA, Minn.- Businesses on the Iron Range were recognized for their contributions to the community at Olcott Park in Virginia Wednesday. The Laurentian Chamber of Commerce Honored them as part of this year’s award ceremony. The normal awards banquet scheduled this year was canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions, but the chamber still found a way to honor Range businesses. The…

New Covid Lab For Businesses Allows Fast Testing

This allows businesses who wish to get tested to get those results fast.

DULUTH, Minn. – At times, hospitals can be overwhelmed with testing for Covid-19 resulting in different times an individual may receive their tests back. Now, local business owner Rod Raymond has partnered with a clinical laboratory improvement amendment certified lab to provide accurate test results in 36 hours or less. This allows businesses who wish to get tested to get…

Walz to Have Flags Flown at Half-Staff

This is to honor and mourn the lives of individuals who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

DULUTH, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz has directed flags at all federal and state buildings be flown at half-staff on Wednesday. This is to honor and mourn the lives of individuals who have lost their lives to Covid-19. Flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the 19th of each month for the remainder of 2020. Categories:…

DECC Chef Brings Barbecue to Hillside with Pop-Up ‘Howard’s Q’ to Stay Afloat Without Work

Howard's Q is serving fresh ribs, rib tips, Jerk Chicken and more right next to the Shanty Bottle Shop on 4th Street on weekends. 

DULUTH, Minn.- A local cook is bringing barbecue to the East Hillside Neighborhood in Duluth while making the most of being out of work during the pandemic. Howard’s Q is serving fresh ribs, rib tips, Jerk Chicken and more right next to the Shanty Bottle Shop on 4th Street on weekends. The cook, Howard Ross, was a Sous Chef at…

Blacksmiths Forge Interest in Metalworking at Glensheen Mansion

DULUTH, Minn.- Visitors at Glensheen Mansion Saturday got to learn about an old-fashioned trade — being a blacksmith. Forging Community’s blacksmiths were on the mansion grounds demonstrating metal working and smithing. Glensheen staff say they appreciate having them every year and they are an even more valuable attraction during the pandemic. “For the public it’s always kind of fun to…

Free Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing in Superior After Weekend of Two Large Public Events

Douglas County officials say despite safety precautions at Bowfest and Head of the Lakes Fair, testing should be done in the virus incubation period.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- After a weekend of two large public events in Superior, Douglas County Health Officials and the Wisconsin National Guard teamed up to administer free drive-thru COVID-19 tests Wednesday at Superior Middle School. 500 coronavirus tests were available in the parking lot of the Middle School. Douglas County Health Officials say before the site even began testing, 75 cars…