The Real Reason Why Coronavirus Numbers Are Surging in Some States
As states ramp up testing in this particular place, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise.
The entire country is currently in various stages of the reopening process. And while you'd think this is evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is waning and numbers of new cases are dropping drastically, that's far from the case across the board in the U.S. While numbers are going down in some states, many other parts of the country are seeing new cases of coronavirus surge. There are many factors that may explain these sudden spikes, but there's one particularly important one to note: More coronavirus testing is being done in correctional facilities.
In Wisconsin, for example, over 16,000 tests results were reported on June 3. Five hundred of them were positive, representing a more than 50 percent increase from the 10,522 cases reported the day prior, NBC15 noted. According to reporting by the local NBC affiliate, the Dodge County Healthy Department said much of that increase could be attributable to the number of tests being conducted in prisons. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections said last week that it tested all 7,000 inmates currently incarcerated in the state's correctional facilities.
Prisons have been a hotbed of coronavirus outbreaks throughout the pandemic, yet many states are only now beginning to conduct widespread testing of the inmates that occupy these facilities. For instance, only after an outbreak in a West Virginia prison at the end of May did state officials announce they would begin comprehensive testing of inmates and prison staff across the state's correctional system.
In some states, testing for prisoners still remains scarce, even when the largest coronavirus outbreak in the state occurred in a prison. For example, in Oregon, the State Penitentiary in Salem is home to the largest outbreak in the state with 123 positive cases, despite the fact that only about 4 percent of its inmates have been tested, Oregon Public Radio reported on June 2.
While there are certainly other factors contributing to the spikes in new cases some states are reporting, if more continue to ramp up testing in their prisons, we might continue to see an increased number of states where coronavirus cases are on the rise. And for more on the rising COVID-19 cases, check out These Are the States That the CDC Is Most Worried About.