33 states with COVID-19 testing far below recommended levels

The number of COVID-19 tests conducted daily in the United States stands at 73 percent of the level deemed necessary by Harvard researchers to mitigate the spread of the virus. Testing activity is below the recommended level in 33 states overall, according to a New York Times analysis. 

Researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute developed a methodology for each state that varies as infection rates change. For mitigation-level testing, researchers recommend enough daily capacity to test symptomatic people and another 10 people for any symptomatic person who tests positive for the virus. Capacity estimates for suppression-level testing are much higher.

As of Sept. 30, 33 states fell below the recommended testing target. To see where the other 18 states (including Washington, D.C.) stand in relation to the target, read the NYT analysis in full here. The analysis is based on data collected by the COVID Tracking Project.

 

33 states below recommended testing levels 

Percentages of targets are calculated using cumulative figures from the last 14 days

 

1. South Dakota*

14 percent of testing target 

 

2. Idaho

16 percent 

 

3. Iowa*

18 percent

 

4. Nebraska*

21 percent

 

5. Kansas* 

21 percent

 

6. Missouri*

22 percent

 

7. Alabama

23 percent

 

8. Nevada*

26 percent

 

9. Indiana* 

27 percent

 

10. Wisconsin*

29 percent 

 

11. Oklahoma 

32 percent

 

12. Montana

38 percent 

 

13. Florida*

38 percent

 

14. Wyoming*

38 percent 

 

15. Delaware*

40 percent 

 

16. Mississippi 

41 percent

 

17. Georgia

44 percent

 

18. Utah*

47 percent 

 

19. South Carolina

49 percent 

 

20. Tennessee

51 percent 

 

21. Arizona*

53 percent

 

22. Oregon*

54 percent

 

23. Maryland 

57 percent

 

24. Texas

57 percent 

 

25. North Dakota

59 percent

 

26. Pennsylvania* 

63 percent 

 

27. North Carolina

64 percent

 

28. Minnesota

64 percent 

 

29. Arkansas

72 percent

 

30. Virginia

75 percent

 

31. Hawaii*

78 percent 

 

32. Louisiana*

79 percent 

 

33. Washington

79 percent 

 

Note: Figures for states with an asterisk indicate one test is 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.

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