The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 2,000 lives in Minnesota.

State health officials reported Saturday 10 more deaths from COVID-19 across the state, exactly 27 weeks after Minnesota's first death report came March 21.

The pace of new deaths has slowed significantly over the summer due in part to improvements in controlling the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among long-term care residents.

Residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities accounted for six of the 10 deaths newly announced Saturday by the Minnesota Department of Health. Statewide, 2,004 people have died from the disease, including 1,444 deaths in long-term care or assisted-living residents.

The state reported the first 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in a span of just 10 weeks. When Minnesota passed the previous milestone in late May, it came at the end of a week when the state reported 174 deaths — the highest Sunday-to-Saturday weekly figure for the state during the pandemic.

This week, Minnesota reported 41 deaths.

On Saturday, the Health Department reported a net increase of 1,470 new coronavirus infections on a volume of more than 30,000 completed tests — unusually high one-day figures for both. This past week the state has averaged 990 new cases per day on a daily volume of about 20,000 tests.

The share of tests coming back positive has been inching up over the past two weeks. But the seven-day average on Saturday of just over 5% is comparable with figures from early September.

The numbers released Saturday show 52 patients were newly admitted to the hospital with COVID-19; 18 patients were newly admitted to intensive care. Since the first case was reported in Minnesota in early March, hospital stays have been required in 7,443 cases, with intensive care needed in 2,085 cases.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was found circulating late last year.

People at greatest risk from COVID-19 include those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and those with underlying medical conditions.

Health problems that increase COVID-19 risks range from lung disease and serious heart conditions to 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. The illness usually causes mild or moderate sickness; studies suggest that up to 45% of those who are infected won't have symptoms.

Numbers published Saturday morning cover the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. Friday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744