Minnesota added another 36 deaths to the COVID-19 pandemic death toll Tuesday, including 12 who were residents in long-term care facilities.
State officials reported 988 new coronavirus cases on a relatively low test volume, with 7,742 samples processed.
While testing is down generally, many testing centers were not open over the Christmas holiday and reports of new cases could also be delayed.
The last time Minnesota had a daily report of fewer than 7,000 tests was just after Labor Day.
Altogether, 5,196 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 complications, including 3,351 who were residents in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases now stand at 411,110. Of those, 31,776 are health care workers.
Fewer people are getting tested for the coronavirus this month compared to November.
The state, which operates more than 20 free saliva testing sites across Minnesota, said it processed 43,990 samples last week that were gathered at its facilities, compared to 68,681 tests the week of Nov. 22.
Its in-home testing program, where a testing kit is mailed to the recipient, had similar declines, going from 32,633 tests the week before Thanksgiving to 22,428 tests last week.
The Health Department announced Tuesday that it is now taking appointments for testing slots in 2021.
"Our community testing strategy continues to expand access all across Minnesota and has already allowed the state to conduct more than half a million COVID-19 tests at community testing sites alone," said Dan Huff, an assistant commissioner at the Health Department. "This disease is spread by people who don't even know they have it. We want people to get tested, even if they're asymptomatic."
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 complications have fallen since the beginning of the month, with about 875 coronavirus patients compared to nearly 1,800 on Dec. 1.
While most people experience mild or no symptoms after infection, those with underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity, hypertension and kidney disease are most likely to require hospitalization.
Since the pandemic began, 393,506 people testing positive for the virus are considered to be no longer infectious.