More than 25% of COVID-19 tests came back positive in some Midwestern states last week as the region experiences an increase in infections and hospitalizations, according to a report on Sunday.
Over the past seven days, North Dakota’s positive test rate has averaged 30%, which was up 24% from last week. South Dakota has seen 26% of its tests coming back positive, an increase of 9% percent from the previous week, according to an analysis by Reuters that used testing data from The COVID Tracking Project.
Meanwhile, more than 27% of COVID-19 tests received by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Sunday were positive in the previous 24 hours, FOX 9 reported.
“[The] World Health Organization [in May] advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (ie, out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days,” Johns Hopkins University reported.
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The agency said rates above 5% were concerning because it suggested more cases in the community had yet to be discovered.
At least seven states in the Midwest and Western U.S. have also recorded one-day rises in new infections. They include Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Wisconsin is now reporting more daily new infections than Florida, according to the news organization.
All states in the Midwest — except Ohio — have reported more cases in the past month when compared to the prior four weeks.
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An increase in testing could explain why cases are increasing, however, hospitalizations have also surged in the Midwest, which isn’t influenced by how many tests are performed.
Wyoming and North Dakota had record numbers of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals within the past week, while hospitalizations in Wisconsin set records twice last week.
According to Reuters, the U.S. is now reporting 46,000 new infections on average each day, compared to 35,000 daily infections two weeks ago.
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Coronavirus related deaths have been trending downward in the states for about six weeks, but they usually lag behind an increase in cases.