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Counties in every state with the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates

  • Counties in every state with the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates

    For the first time since America’s COVID-19 outbreak started, a federal public health agency released county-level testing data. On Sept. 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a dataset showing COVID-19 test positivity rates broken out by U.S. county. While this dataset has not been highly publicized, it provides key information about the state of COVID-19 testing and outbreak control across the country.

    Stacker used the CMS data to show which counties in every state have the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates. These figures reflect average weekly test positivity for the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 2. CMS has further categorized counties according to their test positivity rates: green, test positivity under 5% in the past week (or with fewer than 10 tests in the past week); yellow, test positivity between 5% and 10% in the past week; red, test positivity greater than 10% in the past week.

    The forthcoming gallery further compares the positivity rates of each county to its state's overall test positivity rate for the same week (Aug. 27 to Sept. 2). State testing figures are sourced from the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. COVID-19 statistics for the most recent week of data available (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10) and cumulative case, test, and death counts, also sourced from the COVID Tracking Project, are included as well.

    A test positivity rate describes the percentage of tests conducted in a particular area that returns a positive result. For example, if 1,000 people in a New York county are tested for  COVID-19 in a particular week and 10 of those people test positive, the county would have a positivity rate of 1%. Meanwhile, if 25 people in an Oklahoma county are tested and five people test positive, the test positivity rate for that county is 20%.

    These positivity rates are typically reported for a short period of time, either one day or one week, and are used to reflect a region’s testing capacity over time. If a region has a higher positivity rate, that likely means either many people there have COVID-19, the region does not have enough testing available to accurately measure its outbreak, or both. If a region has a lower positivity rate, on the other hand, that likely means a large share of the population has access to testing, and the region is diagnosing a more accurate share of its infected residents.

    Test positivity rates are often used as a key indicator of how well a particular region is controlling its COVID-19 outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a test positivity rate of 5% or lower. This figure, and a more lenient benchmark of 10%, have been adopted by school districts looking to reopen and states looking to restrict out-of-state visitors as a key threshold that must be met.

    Keep reading to see which counties in your state have the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates.

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  • Alabama

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Cleburne County: 34.1% (class: red, 140.6% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Chilton County: 28.1% (class: red, 98.3% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Blount County: 25.2% (class: red, 77.8% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Lee County: 24.3% (class: red, 71.5% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Macon County: 21.0% (class: red, 48.2% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 18.4 per 100,000 people (#8 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.20 per 100k (#16 highest)
    - New tests: 112.0 per 100k (#44 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 17.0% (#6 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 135,565 total cases (2,786.7 per 100k, #6 highest among all states)
    - 2,301 total deaths (47.3 per 100k, #21 highest)
    - 993,440 total tests (20,421.5 per 100k, #37 highest)

  • Alaska

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. North Slope Borough: 5.4% (class: yellow, 81.2% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Fairbanks North Star Borough: 5.0% (class: yellow, 67.8% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Denali Borough: 4.8% (class: green, 61.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Anchorage Municipality: 3.2% (class: green, 7.4% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Valdez-Cordova Census Area: 3.2% (class: green, 7.4% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 11.1 per 100,000 people (#28 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.04 per 100k (#46 highest)
    - New tests: 292.9 per 100k (#11 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 6.9% (#23 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 6,915 total cases (936.3 per 100k, #43 highest among all states)
    - 42 total deaths (5.7 per 100k, #51 highest)
    - 393,077 total tests (53,225.3 per 100k, #2 highest)

  • Arizona

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Yuma County: 9.2% (class: yellow, 23.2% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Graham County: 8.3% (class: yellow, 11.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Gila County: 6.7% (class: yellow, 10.3% below state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Pima County: 5.6% (class: yellow, 25.0% below state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Santa Cruz County: 5.2% (class: yellow, 30.4% below state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 6.3 per 100,000 people (#38 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.29 per 100k (#12 highest)
    - New tests: 102.4 per 100k (#47 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 7.7% (#21 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 207,002 total cases (2,979.9 per 100k, #3 highest among all states)
    - 5,273 total deaths (75.9 per 100k, #9 highest)
    - 1.3 million total tests (18,294.7 per 100k, #43 highest)

  • Arkansas

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Lincoln County: 30.7% (class: red, 274.4% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Little River County: 25.0% (class: red, 204.9% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Dallas County: 23.4% (class: red, 185.4% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Lafayette County: 22.2% (class: red, 170.7% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Montgomery County: 16.2% (class: red, 97.6% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 20.5 per 100,000 people (#6 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.38 per 100k (#7 highest)
    - New tests: 280.5 per 100k (#13 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 5.7% (#30 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 67,803 total cases (2,267.2 per 100k, #11 highest among all states)
    - 940 total deaths (31.4 per 100k, #30 highest)
    - 796,179 total tests (26,622.1 per 100k, #19 highest)

  • California

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Imperial County: 16.9% (class: red, 274.7% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Tulare County: 12.0% (class: red, 166.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Kings County: 11.8% (class: red, 161.6% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Fresno County: 11.5% (class: red, 155.0% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Stanislaus County: 11.2% (class: red, 148.3% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 9.4 per 100,000 people (#32 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.24 per 100k (#15 highest)
    - New tests: 264.9 per 100k (#17 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 3.8% (#38 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 742,865 total cases (1,897.5 per 100k, #23 highest among all states)
    - 13,978 total deaths (35.7 per 100k, #25 highest)
    - 12.4 million total tests (31,648.5 per 100k, #13 highest)

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  • Colorado

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Prowers County: 10.3% (class: red, 187.7% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Washington County: 8.3% (class: yellow, 131.8% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Yuma County: 7.3% (class: yellow, 103.9% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. San Juan County: 6.7% (class: yellow, 87.2% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Garfield County: 5.2% (class: yellow, 45.3% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 4.9 per 100,000 people (#42 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.07 per 100k (#43 highest)
    - New tests: 149.2 per 100k (#36 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 3.5% (#39 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 59,920 total cases (1,083.3 per 100k, #41 highest among all states)
    - 1,882 total deaths (34.0 per 100k, #27 highest)
    - 1.1 million total tests (19,512.7 per 100k, #40 highest)

  • Connecticut

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Fairfield County: 1.7% (class: green, 178.7% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Litchfield County: 1.4% (class: green, 129.5% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Hartford County: 1.3% (class: green, 113.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Windham County: 1.3% (class: green, 113.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. New Haven County: 0.8% (class: green, 31.1% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 3.5 per 100,000 people (#47 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.04 per 100k (#45 highest)
    - New tests: 363.9 per 100k (#6 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 0.6% (#50 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 54,093 total cases (1,510.3 per 100k, #34 highest among all states)
    - 4,478 total deaths (125.0 per 100k, #4 highest)
    - 1.3 million total tests (36,561.7 per 100k, #8 highest)

  • Delaware

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Kent County: 5.2% (class: yellow, 30.0% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. New Castle County: 4.5% (class: green, 12.5% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Sussex County: 4.2% (class: green, 5.0% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 12.2 per 100,000 people (#22 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.11 per 100k (#37 highest)
    - New tests: 182.8 per 100k (#27 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 5.7% (#29 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 18,466 total cases (1,944.8 per 100k, #19 highest among all states)
    - 613 total deaths (64.6 per 100k, #12 highest)
    - 256,698 total tests (27,035.2 per 100k, #17 highest)

  • Florida

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Union County: 19.5% (class: red, 58.9% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Bradford County: 18.3% (class: red, 49.1% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Dixie County: 13.1% (class: red, 6.8% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Gadsden County: 12.3% (class: red, 0.2% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Lafayette County: 12.0% (class: red, 2.2% below state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 12.3 per 100,000 people (#21 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.47 per 100k (#3 highest)
    - New tests: 91.9 per 100k (#48 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 13.2% (#11 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 654,731 total cases (3,178.6 per 100k, #2 highest among all states)
    - 12,482 total deaths (60.6 per 100k, #15 highest)
    - 4.9 million total tests (23,547.1 per 100k, #27 highest)

  • Georgia

    Counties with the highest test positivity rates, Aug. 27 to Sept. 2:
    --- #1. Pulaski County: 43.2% (class: red, 301.5% above state positivity rate)
    --- #2. Montgomery County: 34.0% (class: red, 216.0% above state positivity rate)
    --- #3. Emanuel County: 29.7% (class: red, 176.0% above state positivity rate)
    --- #4. Randolph County: 29.4% (class: red, 173.2% above state positivity rate)
    --- #5. Johnson County: 28.0% (class: red, 160.2% above state positivity rate)

    Daily new counts over the past week (Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 16.4 per 100,000 people (#12 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.47 per 100k (#4 highest)
    - New tests: 183.0 per 100k (#26 highest)
    - Test positivity rate: 9.1% (#18 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Sept. 10:
    - 289,123 total cases (2,807.7 per 100k, #5 highest among all states)
    - 6,204 total deaths (60.2 per 100k, #16 highest)
    - 2.5 million total tests (24,691.4 per 100k, #23 highest)

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