VIRGINIA, MN -- St. Louis County health experts say they are seeing "dramatic" growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases and an "alarming" number of deaths among Iron Range communities.
41% of the total number of cases in greater St. Louis County have occurred in the last month. That includes everywhere outside Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor and Saginaw.
Of these cases, 25% are attributed to contact with a confirmed case, and 28.5% are community spread with no identified source of exposure.
11% said they'd attended a community event or social gathering.
St. Louis County health experts also called the increase in deaths in Greater St. Louis County "alarming"
County data shows in the first five months of the pandemic, there was one COVID-related death reported in greater St. Louis County.
Since September 1, that number has jumped to 31-deaths.
County-wide, the number of serious cases requiring hospitalization is at an all-time high. As of Friday, there are 23-people hospitalized, with seven in intensive care.
"COVID fatigue is real. We know that and are feeling it ourselves," said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Division Director. "But we are seeing significant transmission of this virus through community spread, and we need everyone to continue being careful."
Westbrook is encouraging people to social distance and avoid small gatherings, wear a mask, and stay home if you're sick.