There's almost nowhere in the U.S. where the coronavirus isn't in a state of an uncontrolled outbreak. As health experts forecast a "surge upon a surge" in coming weeks brought on by holiday travel and gatherings, the expectation is that our dire situation will get even worse. But despite national trends, there are still four states where COVID isn't currently surging.
Based on data provided by CovidActNow as of Dec. 29, which uses a color-coded tiered system to show the risk level in each state, there are only a few places that are keeping the pandemic in check. By compiling each state's daily new case rate, positive test rate, infection rate, ICU capacity, and contact tracers hired, states are designated to one of five levels: dark red, meaning severe outbreak; bright red, meaning active or imminent outbreak; orange, meaning at risk of outbreak; yellow, meaning low disease growth; and green, meaning on track to contain COVID. Currently, no states are marked green, and only four are coming in below the bright red level.
So which states are proving themselves against the pandemic? Read on to see, and for more on how where you live could affect your vaccine timeline, check out These 2 States Are Going Against the CDC's Vaccine Recommendations.
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Daily new cases per 100,000 people: 24.2
Positive test rate: 7.8 percent
Washington was once an epicenter of the COVID pandemic when the virus first hit the States in the spring. But now, the state is at a level orange designation, which means "at risk of outbreak." With a low infection rate of .86 (under 1.0), that means spread is slowing down in the Evergreen State. And for more virus updates, check out The One Thing You Can Stop Doing to Avoid COVID, According to Doctors.
Daily new cases per 100,000 people: 21.8
Positive test rate: 7.3 percent
Oregon has managed to bring its numbers under control to a level orange designation. The state has seen a drop in daily new cases per capita from 30.7 per 100,000 people to under 22 in just a week, while the infection rate dropped to the low threshold at .87. But unfortunately, the good news may not last long, as local health officials say lags in reporting over Christmas could lead to deceptively low numbers. In fact, Oregon is a neighbor to one of the worst outbreaks at the moment. Read more at This State Now Has the Worst COVID Outbreak in the U.S.
Daily new cases per 100,000 people: 13.4
Positive test rate: 3.0 percent
Long considered a running success story of the pandemic , the Green Mountain State has more or less managed to keep numbers in check since the coronavirus began spreading across the U.S. However, its infection rate of .92 shows Vermont could be on the cusp of an increase in COVID cases, but for now, it's the third orange risk level state.
Luckily, there is a positive sign for Vermont: Unlike the national average which saw a record-breaking number of travelers, Burlington International Airport—the state's largest—saw an 80 percent decrease in traffic. "Which we at the airport consider a win, since we have the governor's initiative to have less. We are doing just that," Gene Richards, director of aviation at the airport told Vermont Public Radio. And for more on very specific spots you should be avoiding, check out Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says.
Daily new cases per 100,000 people: 6.9
Positive test rate: 3.5 percent
Based on data, there's no state that's keeping the pandemic under control like the Aloha State at the moment. After implementing strict testing requirements and quarantine rules for entry, Hawaii can lay claim to being the only state at the yellow risk level, which denotes "slow disease growth."
However, with an infection rate at .99, Hawaii is at a pivotal point and local health officials are warning and educating citizens on the potential spread of the highly contagious U.K. variant of the virus. "The only way we're going to stop it is [to] continue with a vigilance that we're doing with the testing and the pre-testing and the follow-up testing once people arrive," Scott Miscovich, MD, a COVID-19 testing expert in Hawaii, told local affiliate KHON-2. "So, hopefully we're not going to let it spread to be the only variant we have." And for more on how to prepare yourself for a bout with coronavirus, check out The "Really Disturbing" Long COVID Symptom Doctors Want You to Prepare For.