Minnesota is reporting 40 new deaths and 2,534 new coronavirus cases, the state Health Department said Sunday morning.

Because of the Christmas holiday, the state released two days' worth of coronavirus data on Sunday, so figures can appear higher from the two-day count.

But the combined numbers from Dec. 25 and 26 are still lower than a single day of data last Sunday: 70 newly reported deaths and more than 2,700 new cases. That indicates a downward trend is continuing.

Sunday's data came on a very high volume of nearly 88,000 newly completed tests between the two days.

Since the pandemic arrived in Minnesota in March, the state's tallies include 409,061 total positive cases, 21,315 hospitalizations and 5,147 deaths.

Residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities accounted for 27 of the newly announced deaths, and 3,332 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Numbers released Sunday show health care workers have accounted for 31,452 positive cases. More than 388,900 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced late last year. People at greatest risk include those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and those with underlying medical conditions.

Those health problems range from lung disease and serious heart conditions to severe obesity and diabetes. People undergoing treatment for failing kidneys also run a greater risk, as do those with cancer and other conditions where treatments suppress immune systems.

Most patients with COVID-19 don't need to be hospitalized. Most illnesses involve mild or moderate symptoms; many cases are asymptomatic.

Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751