Public Health offers reminders about testing and quarantine following outbreak in Ely

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Public Health & Human Services Dept. • 320 West Second Street, Suite 605 • Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 726-2096 •

Linnea Mirsch




March 24, 2021

CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Public Health offers reminders about testing and quarantine following outbreak in Ely

A significant increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ely has St. Louis County Public Health offering reminders to people about the importance of testing and quarantining to prevent further community transmission.


In the last week, there have been 33 confirmed cases in Ely, which is 15% of the total cases for the entire county. Some of the cases appear to be travel related, while others are linked to social gatherings and youth sports activities.


Anyone identified as a close contact of a confirmed case - meaning they've been within six feet for 15 minutes or longer - should quarantine for 14 days whether symptomatic or not. The exception is anyone who is fully vaccinated (meaning they are two weeks past receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) does not need to quarantine unless they show signs or symptoms of COVID-19.


St. Louis County Public Health is working with the schools to provide testing kits for students who are symptomatic. People also are encouraged to order and use the free at-home saliva test kits offered by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). COVID testing is available in Ely at the Essentia Health Ely Clinic. Other test locations can be found online at


COVID testing is recommended for:

  • Anyone with symptoms
  • Anyone - regardless of whether experiencing symptoms - who has been exposed to a confirmed case. If non-symptomatic, it is best to wait 5-7 days after exposure before getting tested.
  • Anyone who has attended a large gathering or indoor event.

Additionally, MDH recently updated it's guidance on testing for students, recommending that all students be tested at least once every two weeks, and that student athletes be tested weekly.


"We know people are tired, and probably have been experiencing information overload about COVID precautions this past year," said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Director. "But outbreaks such as what we've seen in several of our communities in the last two weeks makes it very clear that we can't let our guard down yet. Vaccinations are making a difference, but we still must all remain vigilant and do our part to minimize the spread of this virus."