Special Report

These Are the Counties In the Duluth, MN-WI Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Fastest

After adding over 499,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 45.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 730,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 23.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 27.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Duluth, MN-WI, metro area consists of St. Louis County, Douglas County, Carlton County, and one other county. In the past week, there were an average of 29.7 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Duluth residents, greater than the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is a decrease from the week prior, when there was an average of 52.9 daily new cases per 100,000 Duluth residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Duluth metro area, COVID-19 is growing the fastest in Douglas County, Wisconsin. There were an average of 45.0 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Douglas County during the past week, the most of the four counties in Duluth with available data.

Case growth in the Duluth metro area is relatively uniform at the county level. In Lake County, for example, there were an average of 40.8 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the least of any county in Duluth yet relatively in line with the case growth rate in Douglas County.

Just as Douglas County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Duluth area, it also has the highest incidence of cases overall. As of October 28, there were a total of 13,911.5 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Douglas County, the most of the four counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 13,970.5 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In Douglas County, unemployment peaked at 21.0% in April 2020. As of June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 4.7%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending October 28. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data up from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is not seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Minnesota where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

Rank in MSA County Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending October 28 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending October 21 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
1 Douglas County 43,295 45.0 43.3 13,911.5 152.4
2 St. Louis County 199,759 43.7 54.8 12,092.6 181.2
3 Carlton County 35,633 41.0 57.3 12,712.9 185.2
4 Lake County 10,560 40.8 41.4 10,501.9 198.9