See more of the story

Minnesota is reporting 302 new coronavirus cases and 16 more deaths linked to COVID-19, the state Department of Health announced Saturday.

With the latest numbers, the seven-day rolling average for net new cases has fallen to 187 per day, according to the Star Tribune's coronavirus tracker. That's the lowest reading by that measure in more than a year — since late April 2020.

Lower tallies for new cases over the past week have extended a downward trend with infections in Minnesota since April.

The statewide tally of people who have received at least one vaccine dose increased by 8,671 in the latest data release, for a total of 2,951,297 people so far. That's about 65% of residents age 16 and older, according to a state dashboard reading on Saturday.

The state says more than 2.6 million people have now completed a one-dose or two-dose vaccine series, although there's been slowing in the rate at which people are receiving first doses or are becoming fully vaccinated.

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

Since Minnesota started detecting virus infections in March 2020, the state has reported 602,428 positive cases, 32,208 hospitalizations and 7,461 deaths.

The new cases came on a volume of 18,738 tests. The state's official measure for the positivity rate — the share of tests coming back positive — is now 3%, which is below the "caution" level of 5%.

Hospital figures continue to show fewer Minnesotans requiring inpatient treatment for COVID-19.

The Star Tribune's tracker shows 19 new hospital admissions reported on Saturday, down from 30 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.

Numbers released Saturday show health care workers have accounted for 42,721 positive cases. Nearly 593,000 people who were infected no longer need to be isolated.

The latest figures show nearly 5.3 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 a.m. Friday. Vaccination numbers were current as of Thursday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744