At least 33 US states have more than five percent of all coronavirus tests coming back positive, a new report reveals.
These states are mostly in the South and the West, while the Northeast is populated with states that have a positive test rate from 0.7 percent to 4.8 percent
Arizona currently leads the nation with the highest positive rate at 22.7 percent with at least 11 states also above ten percent.
Many of these states were spared early on in the pandemic, but hit harder when they reopened and lifted restrictions sooner
Vermont, meanwhile, has the lowest rate at 0.7 percent and is among the states that were hit hard early on but enforced strict lockdowns to drive down cases.
What’s more, a number of states with high positive rates also have nursing homes with less than one week’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, surgical masks and gowns, driving fears that more care homes could experience outbreaks.
Currently, 33 states have at least 5% of all coronavirus tests coming back positive with Arizona having the highest rates and Vermont having the lowest rate (above)
Only one state and DC have no nursing homes without a one-week’s supply of gowns and two states have less than 5% without a week’s supply of N95 masks. Pictured: A nurse cares for a coronavirus patient in the ICU at El Centro Regional Medical Center in California, July 28
TOP 10 STATES WITH LOWEST POSITIVE TEST RATES…
3. New York
5. New Jersey
6. New Hampshire
…AND BOTTOM 10 STATES WITH HIGHEST POSITIVE TEST RATES
6. South Carolina
For the report, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) collected data from Johns Hopkins University.
States were broken down into three categories: positive test rates below five percent, between five percent and 9.9 percent, and 10 percent or greater.
Researchers found that 33 states fell into the latter two categories.
Arizona is currently performing the worst with 22.7 percent of tests coming back positive, meaning at least one out of every five people tested has the virus.
Rounding out the ‘top five’ are three states in the South – Mississippi, Florida and Alabama – and one state in the West, Idaho.
Meanwhile, Vermont is seeing the best results with just 0.7 percent of its tests coming back positive.
Closely behind were four states all in the Northeast, which was the previous epicenter of the US pandemic: Maine, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey
On July 22, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that all nursing homes in states with a five percent positivity rate or greater will be required to test staff each week.
If that policy were to be implemented today, it would mean 11,640 nursing homes across the US would be required to conduct such weekly testing.
‘Governors and state health agencies, especially in these 33 states, need to take immediate action to protect our seniors and healthcare heroes by ensuring long term facilities have adequate supplies of PPE and staff support as well as facilitating expedited test results for our residents and caregivers,’ said Mark Parkinson, CEO and president of AHCA/NCAL.
‘We also need members of the public to do their part to help reduce spread by wearing a mask in public and continuing to practice social distancing. We all have a duty to defend our nation’s greatest generation and their essential caregivers.’
New Hampshire had the most nursing homes lacking PPE at about half without one week’s supply of N95 masks, surgical masks and gowns, Pictured: Kay Foley, 88 (left) and her daughter Chris Coverdale blow kisses to each other after an outdoor visit at Jones-Harrison nursing home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 20
For the second half of the report, the team looked at a state-by-state breakdown of the percentage of nursing homes without a one-week supply of various PPE.
In regards to N95 masks, only two states had less than five percent of nursing homes without a seven-day supply, Texas and Utah.
Thirty-six states had at least five percent of nursing homes without a one-week’s supply of surgical masks.
When it came to gowns, only one state, Alaska, and Washington, DC had no nursing homes without a week’s supply of them.
In all three categories, New Hampshire had the highest percentage with about half of its 74 nursing homes not having a week’s worth of PPE.