Is Your State Doing Enough Coronavirus Testing?



The number of daily coronavirus tests being conducted in the United States is 65 percent of the level considered necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus, as many states struggle to increase testing.

10

states* meet the testing target

7

states are near the target

34

states are far below the target

AlaskaAla.Ark.Ariz.Calif.Colo.Conn.D.C.Del.Fla.Ga.HawaiiIowaIdahoIll.Ind.Kan.Ky.La.Mass.Md.MaineMich.Minn.Mo.Miss.Mont.N.C.N.D.Neb.N.H.N.J.N.M.Nev.N.Y.OhioOkla.Ore.Pa.R.I.S.C.S.D.Tenn.TexasUtahVa.Vt.Wash.Wis.W.Va.Wyo.

*Includes 9 states and Washington, D.C. States within 20 percent of the testing target are considered “near” the target.

An average of 962,000 tests per day were performed over the past week, according to data collected by the Covid Tracking Project, well below the current nationwide target of 1.5 million daily tests. The target, which is based on a methodology developed by researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute, is different for each state and varies over time as infection rates change.

The figures for some states, marked with an asterisk (*) below, indicate one test reported for each individual tested, even if that person is tested more than once. The figures for the other states indicate the total number of specimens tested, including when an individual is tested more than once, which can lead to higher reported test numbers and lower positivity rates. For states that report both individuals and specimens tested, the table below will eventually be updated to indicate specimens tested, as that is the more common metric reported by states.

How each state’s current testing measures up

Average daily testing and hospitalizations in the last two weeks

Daily tests
per 100,000

Daily tests
per 100k

Percentage of
testing target

Percentage
of target

Positive
test rate

Positive
rate

Hospitalized
per 100,000

Hospital
per 100k

United States
U.S.

65Target

65Target

5%
Iowa*
Iowa

14

14

18%
Idaho
Idaho

14

14

23%
Wisconsin*
Wis.

14

14

20%
South Dakota*
S.D.

14

14

23%
Wyoming*
Wyo.

18

18

19%
Nevada*
Nev.

18

18

15%
Kansas*
Kan.

19

19

16%
Indiana*
Ind.

20

20

14%
Nebraska*
Neb.

24

24

13%
Alabama
Ala.

24

24

13%
Florida*
Fla.

30

30

11%
Montana
Mont.

31

31

11%
Mississippi
Miss.

31

31

11%
Oklahoma
Okla.

33

33

8%
North Dakota
N.D.

33

33

8%
Utah*
Utah

35

35

15%
Arizona*
Ariz.

39

39

7%
Delaware*
Del.

40

40

6%
Missouri
Mo.

43

43

7%
Arkansas
Ark.

44

44

7%
North Carolina
N.C.

48

48

6%
Tennessee
Tenn.

49

49

7%
Oregon*
Ore.

51

51

6%
Pennsylvania*
Pa.

51

51

8%
Maryland
Md.

54

54

6%
Georgia
Ga.

55

55

6%
Texas
Texas

56

56

7%
South Carolina
S.C.

58

58

5%
Kentucky
Ky.

58

58

5%
Virginia
Va.

60

60

5%
Minnesota
Minn.

62

62

5%
New Mexico
N.M.

74

74

4%
Alaska
Alaska

74

74

4%
Illinois
Ill.

78

78

4%
Colorado
Colo.

86

86

4%
Louisiana*
La.

87

87

4%
California
Calif.

101

101

3%
Michigan
Mich.

107

107

3%
Washington
Wash.

111

111

3%
Ohio
Ohio

116

116

3%
West Virginia
W.Va.

116

116

3%
Hawaii
Hawaii

125

125

3%
New Jersey
N.J.

137

137

2%
Rhode Island
R.I.

157

157

2%
Washington, D.C.
D.C.

216

216

1%
New York
N.Y.

227

227

1%
Massachusetts
Mass.

295

295

1%
New Hampshire
N.H.

298

298

1%
Connecticut
Conn.

330

330

1%
Maine
Maine

446

446

1%
Vermont*
Vt.

456

456

1%

Note: Positive test rates and percentages of targets are calculated using cumulative figures from the last 14 days. All other values are 14-day rolling averages. Trendlines for daily tests and hospitalizations show averages for the last two weeks.

Testing operations in the United States were delayed at the start of the outbreak after tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were found to be faulty. Since then, testing levels have steadily increased across the country, but many states have struggled to stay ahead of new outbreaks as overwhelmed labs report processing delays and shortages of crucial testing supplies. The resulting backlog can leave sick people undiagnosed, with the potential to further spread the virus as states reopen.

The Harvard researchers say that at minimum there should be enough daily capacity to test anyone who has flu-like symptoms and an additional 10 people for any symptomatic person who tests positive for the virus. That level of testing — which, according to researchers, is the minimum necessary to mitigate the disease — would require a significant increase over the number of daily tests currently being performed. Their estimates for the testing required to suppress the spread of the virus are much higher.

Aside from current testing levels, another important indicator of a state’s testing performance is its positive test rate, which is the percent of tests that come back positive. Lower rates suggest that testing is more widespread and that it is not limited to those with severe symptoms. Positive rates should be at or below 5 percent for at least 14 days before a state or country can safely reopen, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, the current positive rate is 5 percent.

Where testing is far below recommended levels

Most states remain far from the minimum level of testing needed to reduce the spread of the virus.

Rate of testing compared to target

States are ordered by current testing shortfall

Where testing is above or near recommended levels

Over time, some states have reached the minimum testing target, and a few have exceeded it.

Rate of testing compared to target

States are ordered by current testing levels

Note: States with fewer than 2,000 total cases are not shown.

Tracking the Coronavirus


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