Minnesota is reporting 2,104 new coronavirus cases and eight 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 declined to about 1,736, according to the Star Tribune's coronavirus tracker. The reading continued a trend over the past week or two of declining seven-day averages after a steady increase in new infections during March and early April.

Health officials say the rise in COVID-19 cases this spring has coincided with the spread of a more contagious form of the virus across the state.

The statewide tally for people who have received at least one vaccine dose increased by 30,594 in the latest data release, for a total of 2,407,294 people so far. That's about 55% of residents age 16 and older, according to a state dashboard reading on Saturday.

The Health Department says 1,745,377 people have now completed a one-dose or two-dose vaccine series. Vaccination figures could be understated due to reporting delays.

Residents of a long-term care or assisted-living facilities accounted for four of the eight newly announced deaths.

Since Minnesota started detecting virus infections in March 2020, the state has reported 566,687 positive cases, 29,703 hospitalizations and 7,072 deaths.

The new cases came on a volume of 44,564 tests, putting the positivity rate just below the state's "caution" level of 5%.

The Star Tribune's tracker shows 114 new hospital admissions reported on Saturday, down from 135 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.

The number of COVID-19 patients in Minnesota hospital beds has been increasing since early March, although some hospital indicators over the past week have shown signs of leveling off.

Numbers released Saturday show health care workers have accounted for 40,951 positive cases. More than 542,000 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

The latest Health Department figures show 3,965,362 vaccine doses administered.

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 was current as of 4 p.m. Friday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744