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States doing the most and least COVID-19 testing

  • States doing the most and least COVID-19 testing

    As many people defy CDC guidelines and travel home for Thanksgiving, some will be met with new travel requirements

    As of Nov. 20, 14 states had some degree of advisories, warnings, mandated quarantine periods, or testing requirements including showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The state of Illinois did not have a blanket rule, but Chicago is mandating a 14-day quarantine period for anyone traveling from a “red” state where more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for every 100,000 residents.

    The added precautions are in direct response to the staggering spike in cases as of late, with public health resource COVID Exit Strategy categorizing 49 out of 50 states as having “uncontrolled spread” as of Nov. 22. Crucial to getting these numbers down is ramping up access to testing, pursuing contact tracing at every opportunity, and people following social distancing recommendations and basic hygiene like frequent hand washing.

    To determine the states doing the most and least COVID-19 testing, Stacker compared testing numbers from the COVID Tracking Project, contextualized with population data from the U.S. Census (American Community Survey 2018 5-year estimates). The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer effort housed at The Atlantic, compiles and standardizes data from state public health agencies. Data are as of Nov. 22 and reflect the past month’s tests and cases.

    States are ranked based on their PCR tests completed per 100,000 people in the past week. However, it is important to note that these rankings are not an exact comparison because different states report their tests using different units. Some states report specimens tested—referring to the samples sent to a lab—while others report people tested, and still others report testing encounters, referring to the people who have been tested each day. We have included each state’s primary units using documentation from the COVID Tracking Project. Some states also may be including antigen tests in their molecular, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test counts; for more details on this issue, see the Project’s blog. Separated-out antigen and antibody test counts are also included in the story where available.

    Keep reading to see which states are doing the most and least COVID-19 testing.

    Editor's note: Betsy Ladyzhets, a research associate at Stacker who worked on this story, volunteers for the COVID-19 Tracking Project.

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  • #51. Wyoming

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 7,255 (1,247 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 5,675 (975 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 32 (5.5 per 100k, #13 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 51.9% (#2 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 154 new tests per 100k, 66 new cases per 100k, 79.5% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 248 new tests per 100k, 88 new cases per 100k, 59.2% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 285 new tests per 100k, 127 new cases per 100k, 65.1% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 178 new tests per 100k, 139 new cases per 100k, 51.9% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 28,169 total cases (4,841 per 100k, #13 highest among all states)
    - 176 total deaths (30.2 per 100k, #45 highest)
    - 159,957 total PCR tests (27,492 per 100k, #47 highest)

  • #50. Oregon

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 51,635 (1,265 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 8,290 (203 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 59 (1.4 per 100k, #42 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 16.0% (#19 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 149 new tests per 100k, 12 new cases per 100k, 8.0% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 145 new tests per 100k, 18 new cases per 100k, 12.3% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 170 new tests per 100k, 23 new cases per 100k, 13.2% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 181 new tests per 100k, 29 new cases per 100k, 16.0% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 65,170 total cases (1,597 per 100k, #47 highest among all states)
    - 820 total deaths (20.1 per 100k, #47 highest)
    - 1.0 million total PCR tests (24,734 per 100k, #50 highest)

  • #49. Pennsylvania

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 171,446 (1,340 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 44,502 (348 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 530 (4.1 per 100k, #20 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 26.0% (#10 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 125 new tests per 100k, 17 new cases per 100k, 13.9% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 148 new tests per 100k, 23 new cases per 100k, 15.9% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 166 new tests per 100k, 38 new cases per 100k, 23.2% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 191 new tests per 100k, 50 new cases per 100k, 26.0% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 309,639 total cases (2,421 per 100k, #44 highest among all states)
    - 9,842 total deaths (76.9 per 100k, #20 highest)
    - 3.0 million total PCR tests (23,297 per 100k, #51 highest)

  • #48. Alabama

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 65,980 (1,356 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 14,684 (302 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 209 (4.3 per 100k, #19 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 23.0% (#14 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: Unclear units

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 147 new tests per 100k, 28 new cases per 100k, 19.7% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 147 new tests per 100k, 28 new cases per 100k, 19.5% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 167 new tests per 100k, 42 new cases per 100k, -20.1% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 194 new tests per 100k, 43 new cases per 100k, 23.0% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 232,506 total cases (4,779 per 100k, #15 highest among all states)
    - 3,457 total deaths (71.1 per 100k, #23 highest)
    - 1.5 million total PCR tests (31,356 per 100k, #45 highest)

    Non-PCR testing:
    - Total antibody tests (people): 69,857 (1,436 per 100k)

  • #47. Idaho

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 23,291 (1,380 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 9,517 (564 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 88 (5.2 per 100k, #15 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 41.5% (#5 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 147 new tests per 100k, 50 new cases per 100k, 34.3% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 166 new tests per 100k, 65 new cases per 100k, 39.6% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 189 new tests per 100k, 76 new cases per 100k, 40.6% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 197 new tests per 100k, 81 new cases per 100k, 41.5% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 90,834 total cases (5,382 per 100k, #7 highest among all states)
    - 847 total deaths (50.2 per 100k, #33 highest)
    - 451,245 total PCR tests (26,736 per 100k, #48 highest)

    Non-PCR testing:
    - Total antigen tests (specimens): 31,219 (1,850 per 100k)

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  • #46. Mississippi

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 41,999 (1,405 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 8,871 (297 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 133 (4.5 per 100k, #17 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 86.0% (#1 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: Specimens

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 383 new tests per 100k, 26 new cases per 100k, 72.2% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 187 new tests per 100k, 30 new cases per 100k, 85.9% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 212 new tests per 100k, 36 new cases per 100k, 85.9% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 201 new tests per 100k, 42 new cases per 100k, 86.0% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 143,180 total cases (4,791 per 100k, #14 highest among all states)
    - 3,676 total deaths (123.0 per 100k, #6 highest)
    - 1.1 million total PCR tests (35,137 per 100k, #43 highest)

    Non-PCR testing:
    - Total antibody tests (specimens): 48,342 (1,617 per 100k)
    - Total antigen tests (specimens): 145,992 (4,885 per 100k)

  • #45. Iowa

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 45,199 (1,443 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 20,223 (646 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 207 (6.6 per 100k, #8 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 45.4% (#3 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 154 new tests per 100k, 56 new cases per 100k, 35.5% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 176 new tests per 100k, 85 new cases per 100k, 47.8% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 241 new tests per 100k, 122 new cases per 100k, 51.9% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 206 new tests per 100k, 92 new cases per 100k, 45.4% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 187,505 total cases (5,986 per 100k, #4 highest among all states)
    - 2,192 total deaths (70.0 per 100k, #24 highest)
    - 1.0 million total PCR tests (33,002 per 100k, #44 highest)

    Non-PCR testing:
    - Total antibody tests (people): 73,675 (2,352 per 100k)
    - Total antigen tests (people): 128,007 (4,086 per 100k)

  • #44. Arizona

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 129,854 (1,869 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 24,229 (349 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 162 (2.3 per 100k, #34 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 18.5% (#17 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 163 new tests per 100k, 19 new cases per 100k, 11.9% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 179 new tests per 100k, 24 new cases per 100k, 13.1% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 209 new tests per 100k, 33 new cases per 100k, 15.6% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 267 new tests per 100k, 50 new cases per 100k, 18.5% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 299,665 total cases (4,314 per 100k, #24 highest among all states)
    - 6,464 total deaths (93.1 per 100k, #11 highest)
    - 2.1 million total PCR tests (30,293 per 100k, #46 highest)

    Non-PCR testing:
    - Total antibody tests (specimens): 356,561 (5,133 per 100k)

  • #43. Kansas

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 57,106 (1,963 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 19,026 (654 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 154 (5.3 per 100k, #14 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 15.0% (#21 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 130 new tests per 100k, 44 new cases per 100k, 15.0% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 165 new tests per 100k, 61 new cases per 100k, 15.8% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 150 new tests per 100k, 88 new cases per 100k, 26.4% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 280 new tests per 100k, 93 new cases per 100k, 15.0% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 134,533 total cases (4,625 per 100k, #17 highest among all states)
    - 1,410 total deaths (48.5 per 100k, #35 highest)
    - 763,893 total PCR tests (26,262 per 100k, #49 highest)

  • #42. South Dakota

    Reported in the past week (Nov. 16 to Nov. 22):
    - New PCR tests: 17,104 (1,979 per 100,000 people) - New cases: 7,684 (889 per 100k)
    - New deaths: 175 (20.2 per 100k, #1 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 45.4% (#4 highest, recommended ratio: under 5%)
    - PCR test units: People

    Daily new PCR tests and cases over the past month (seven-day averages):
    - 10/26 to 11/1: 268 new tests per 100k, 134 new cases per 100k, 49.8% positivity
    - 11/2 to 11/8: 246 new tests per 100k, 134 new cases per 100k, 54.7% positivity
    - 11/9 to 11/15: 282 new tests per 100k, 165 new cases per 100k, 57.6% positivity
    - 11/16 to 11/22: 283 new tests per 100k, 127 new cases per 100k, 45.4% positivity

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of Nov. 22:
    - 73,065 total cases (8,454 per 100k, #2 highest among all states)
    - 819 total deaths (94.8 per 100k, #9 highest)
    - 311,218 total PCR tests (36,009 per 100k, #41 highest)

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