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Brainerd superintendent asks for COVID compliance as year-end draws near

New COVID-19 cases reported Friday showed the upward trajectory is continuing in Crow Wing County.

Brainerd High School sign
Brainerd High School

Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson announced another district surge in COVID-19 cases Friday, April 9.

“I want to share some reminders with you and encourage you to remain vigilant for the last six weeks so that we may finish this year strong and in person,” she wrote in a letter to families Friday.

With the number of students and staff in quarantine due to symptoms, testing positive or being in close contact of positive cases, Larson said it will take the community’s help to ensure students remain in school for the rest of the year.

“I do not want students to have to change learning models again this school year,” she wrote.

To achieve that goal, Larson said students and staff members should stay home from school, athletics and any other activities if they are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious illness or if someone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19.


“Please report absences like this to the student’s school office and we will follow up with the dates the students can safely return to school,” she wrote.

Other illnesses, like strep throat and the stomach flu, are also going around the schools, Larson said.

Community members should also continue with good hand hygiene, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and wearing face coverings.

The COVID-19 vaccine, Larson reminded the public, is available for all Minnesotans age 16 and older. For more information on the vaccine and where to get it, visit http://bit.ly/MDHVaccines .

Providing proof of vaccination can mean students and staff can return to school more quickly following exposure, Larson said.

“The more we work together to do our part to contain this virus, the sooner we can put all these pandemic precautions behind us,” she wrote. “Your diligence for these last six weeks of our school year will be greatly appreciated and will help us finish Warrior strong!”

Cases update

New COVID-19 cases reported Friday showed the upward trajectory is continuing in Crow Wing County. The addition of 44 new cases among residents put the total for the last 14 days at 432. The last time this figure was in the 400s was Dec. 18, 2020, when 444 cases were reported in the previous 14 days. Before that, it was Oct. 30, when cases were on a swift rise to a late autumn peak.

In the last week, the 14-day count increased by 139 cases from 293 on April 3. This rate of increase is nearly identical to a comparable time period last fall. Between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2, 2020, the 14-day count increased by 138 cases, from 314 to 452. It took 18 days from that point for Crow Wing County to reach its highest 14-day count recorded thus far: 1,280 cases reported in the two weeks leading up to Nov. 20.


The Brainerd micropolitan remained on The New York Times’ list of places where cases are rising fastest Friday, dropping from seventh to eighth out of 20 micro- and metropolitan locations across the United States.

Morrison and Mille Lacs counties are also rising at consistent rates, with Mille Lacs surpassing Todd County’s total count for the first time this week. Cass County also saw a slight rate increase in new cases this week as well. Aitkin, Todd and Wadena counties remained relatively flat in growth.

Among the deaths reported Friday was a Morrison County resident, age 95-99.

COVID-19 data as of April 9

  • Aitkin — 1,258 (+7 since Thursday), with 36 deaths; 6,511 residents have received at least one vaccine dose, representing 48% of the county’s 16-plus population.

  • Cass — 2,403 (+21) with 26 deaths; 9,372 residents with at least one dose, 40%.

  • Crow Wing — 5,870 (+44), with 86 deaths; 23,022 residents with at least one dose, 44%.

  • Mille Lacs — 2,681 (+21), with 47 deaths; 8,266 residents with at least one dose, 41%.

  • Morrison — 3,803 (+21), with 57 (+1) deaths; 9,605 residents with at least one dose, 37%.

  • Todd — 2,640 (+6), with 30 deaths; 6,376 residents with at least one dose, 33%.

  • Wadena — 1,391 (+1), with 20 deaths; 4,237 residents with at least one dose, 40%.

NOTE: These numbers are cumulative since March 21, 2020, and many are out of isolation.

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