Minnesota is reporting 1,321 new coronavirus cases and 8 more deaths linked to COVID-19, the state Department of Health announced Saturday.

With the latest numbers, the rolling seven-day average for new cases is down to about 1,348 per day, according to the Star Tribune's coronavirus tracker. The reading continues a trend over nearly four weeks of declining seven-day averages after a steady increase in new infections during March and early April.

The spring rise in COVID-19 cases coincided with the spread of a more contagious form of the virus, health officials say.

After increases for three weeks, the rolling seven-day average for newly reported deaths has declined over the past seven days.

The statewide tally of people who have received at least one vaccine dose increased by 13,121 in the latest data release, for a total of 2,641,346 people so far. That's about 60% of residents age 16 and older, according to a state dashboard reading on Saturday.

The pace of vaccinations has been slowing across the state. The number who received their first dose of vaccine in the latest data release is down about 10,000 shots from last week's comparable figure.

The state says 2,106,486 people have now completed a one-dose or two-dose vaccine series.

Residents of long-term care or assisted-living facilities accounted for none of the newly announced deaths.

Since Minnesota started detecting virus infections in March 2020, the state has reported 586,959 positive cases, 30,928 hospitalizations and 7,224 deaths.

The new cases came on a volume of 32,699 tests. The state's official measure for the positivity rate — the share of tests coming back positive — has been trending lower, but still is above the "caution" level at 5.8%.

The Star Tribune's tracker shows 73 new hospital admissions reported on Saturday, down from 102 reported one week ago. Daily announcements of new admissions typically include patients who have entered the hospital at some point over the last several days, not just the most recent day.

While the number of COVID-19 patients in Minnesota hospital beds had been steadily increasing since early March, hospital indicators are continuing to show signs of leveling off.

Numbers released Saturday show health care workers have accounted for 41,868 positive cases. More than 566,000 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

The latest Health Department figures show more than 4.5 million vaccine doses administered overall.

COVID-19 is a respiratory ailment that poses the greatest risk of serious illness in those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities, and people with underlying medical conditions.

The disease is caused by a coronavirus that surfaced in late 2019. Health problems that boost COVID-19 risk range from lung disease and serious heart conditions to obesity and diabetes.

Most patients with COVID-19 don't need to be hospitalized, and most illnesses involve mild or moderate symptoms. Many cases are asymptomatic.

Data on COVID-19 cases and deaths released Saturday morning were current as of 4 p.m. Friday. Vaccination numbers were current as of Thursday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744