Minnesota continued Saturday to report very high counts for new coronavirus infections and deaths caused by COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the pandemic virus.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 34 new deaths and 4,647 new coronavirus cases, according to figures released Saturday morning.

The state’s one-day case count was the second highest in the pandemic so far, and came on a very high volume of more than 44,738 newly completed tests.

With the latest numbers, an average of about 12.6%of tests have been positive over the past week, according to the Star Tribune’s coronavirus tracker. The reading continues a recent trend of steady increases in the “positivity rate” for tests across the state — a worrisome sign, doctors say, for COVID-19 spread.

Last Saturday, the seven-day average positivity rate was 9.3%. The reading was just 6.5%two weeks ago.

Since the pandemic arrived in Minnesota in March, the state has reported 174,954 positive cases, 11,394 hospitalizations and 2,625 deaths from COVID-19.

Residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities accounted for 18 of the newly announced deaths, and 1,818 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Numbers released Saturday show health care workers have accounted for 15,832 positive cases. More than 142,800 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

Minnesota does not update its dashboard for hospital capacity on weekends, but the Star Tribune tracker shows 201 new admissions reported Saturday. New admission figures typically include patients who have entered the hospital at some point over the last several days — not just on Saturday.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced late last year. People at greatest risk include those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and those with underlying medical conditions.

Those health problems range from lung disease and serious heart conditions to severe 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. Most illnesses involve mild or moderate symptoms; many cases are asymptomatic.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.