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.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars