Health Care

The five states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases

The rate of new COVID-19 cases is at the lowest it’s been since last summer as the omicron wave subsides.

As state governments have begun to move past pandemic-era restrictions, some health experts have said that another surge is unlikely until at least the fall and winter of this year, and are hopeful new cases will continue dropping throughout the summer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 95 percent of the country currently has low COVID-19 community levels.

While case rates remain low across the country, a handful of states still have elevated risk levels. Here are the five states with the highest levels of new cases per 100,000:

1) Alaska

Cases per 100,000: 26.2

Alaska currently has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Covid Act Now’s real time case tracker. Its positivity test rate is also the highest among U.S. states.

However, hospitalizations in the state have remained relatively low at 4.3 per 100,000.

Roughly 62 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, while a little over a quarter of residents have received a booster shot. This week, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services began updating its COVID-19 data dashboard once a week, down from the usual three updates weekly.

2) Vermont

Cases per 100,000: 24.3

While Vermont is among the states with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases, it also among the top five states when it comes to vaccination rates. It is also among the lowest for hospitalizations, with 2.1 per 100,000.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, 81 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and nearly half of the more than 640,000 residents have received a booster dose.

Vermont’s COVID modeler for the past two years, Mike Pieciak, recently fully returned to his day job in the state’s Department of Financial Regulation.

“I think we we are at a place in Vermont —it really benefits from its high vaccination rate — where we can take a pragmatic approach to the future,” Pieciak told Vermont Public Radio. “When cases are low, when hospital counts are low, then society is moving forward. And really, people are demanding that they live their lives in ways that they did prior to the pandemic.”

3) Rhode Island

Cases per 100,000: 20.3

Rhode Island, like its fellow New England states, boasts a high vaccination rate — the highest in the U.S. in fact, according to COVID Act Now’s tracker. About 82 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated and around 43 percent is boosted.

The Ocean State’s hospitalization rate is also relatively at 4.5 per 100,000.

4) Colorado

Cases per 100,000: 18.7

While Colorado’s rate of new COVID-19 cases is higher than many other states, its hospitalization rate has remained low, two points below the U.S. average.

This past week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced it was shutting down 40 of its 150 community COVID-19 testing sites across the state, as it transitioned to the White House’s “Test To Treat” initiative. The majority of the testing sites will close down at the end of April.

The agency’s lab director, Emily Travanty, said, “We took careful consideration of community needs and capacity demand in determining the schedule of site closures.”

5) New York

Cases per 100,000: 18.5

New York currently has a hospitalization rate of 5.8 per 100,000, making it among the top ten states in terms of hospitalizations.

While the rate of new cases has remained fairly low, a slight uptick has been observed in the past few weeks, with the seven-day average positivity rate rising by about two percentage points since mid-March. The number of new cases per 100,000 has also doubled in that same time period from about 8 to 18.

As The New York Times reported, a rise in cases in New York City is possibly being driven by the spread of the BA.2 “stealth” omicron variant. Health experts have said that the U.S. will likely see an uptick in cases due to the BA.2 strain, though a surge like those caused by the delta and omicron variants is unlikely.

Tags Alaska Colorado COVID-19 testing New York Vermont

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