Minnesota is reporting 2,429 new coronavirus cases and 10 more deaths linked to COVID-19, the state Department of Health announced Saturday, with the statewide pandemic death toll now exceeding 7,000.

The milestone comes as the rolling seven-day average for deaths declined this week, according to the Star Tribune's coronavirus tracker. The tracker also shows the seven-day average for net new cases declined for a second straight day and now stands at 2,037.

While the infection measure has shown slight signs of improvement over the past week, Minnesota in general continues to see increased case counts since early March with the spread of a more contagious form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The statewide tally for people who have received at least one vaccine dose increased by 42,365 in the latest data release, for a total of 2,241,000 people so far. That's about 51% of residents age 16 and older, the state says.

The Health Department says 1,563,210 people have now completed a one-dose or two-dose vaccine series. Vaccination figures could be understated due to reporting delays.

A resident of a long-term care or assisted-living facilities accounted for one of the 10 newly announced deaths.

Since Minnesota started detecting virus infections in March 2020, the state has reported 554,536 positive cases, 28,991 hospitalizations and 7,005 deaths.

The new cases came on a volume of 41,330 tests, putting the positivity rate again above the state's "caution" level of 5%.

The Star Tribune's tracker shows 135 new hospital admissions reported on Saturday, up from 114 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 has been increasing in recent weeks, it continues to be lower than during last year's peak.

Numbers released Saturday show health care workers have accounted for 40,430 positive cases. More than 527,000 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

The latest Health Department figures show a total of 3,617,216 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