Another 2,954 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths were reported Monday by state health officials.

New confirmed case counts have topped the 2,000 mark for five consecutive days, bringing the total number of known cases to 153,620.

Five of the deaths reported by the Minnesota Department of Health were among residents of long-term care facilities.

Since the pandemic began in Minnesota in March, 2,484 people have died from complications of the new coronavirus. Nearly 70% of all deaths were residents of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

Case growth in the state has outpaced testing growth for some time, with confirmed cases jumping up 13.5% and testing seeing a 7.4% increase on average.

Daily reports of new cases have set records several times over the past few weeks, with the most recent record of 3,154 cases set on Friday.

“We need to brace for bigger totals that are yet to come,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

“The growth we are seeing isn’t just caused by one or two events. We are seeing that these small everyday gatherings are leading to infections that are then spreading,” she said.

The new infections are driving an increase in people needing hospital care.

Over the past week hospitalizations have gone up 25% to 774 patients in hospitals. Of those, 195 are in intensive care units, a one-week increase of 30%.

COVID-19 often leads to respiratory complications like pneumonia. People with underlying health conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and kidney disease, are most likely to require medical attention.

Most people who get infected have mild or no symptoms, but they can transmit the virus to others.

Of known infections, 132,125 are considered to be no longer infectious and do not need to be isolated.

The Health Department received 37,429 reports of test results Sunday, a one-day increase of 36%.