These 4 States Just Had Their Biggest COVID Spikes of the Whole Pandemic

The Midwest was seemingly unscathed by coronavirus, but now it's in the hot seat.

When the novel coronavirus first hit America, it barreled through the Northeast, hitting densely populated areas like New York City fast and hard. Over the spring and summer, as the Northeast responded with strict containment measures, there were new COVID spikes in the South and West. Now, as fall arrives, a new region is seeing serious surges in their case counts, and it's an area that was previously spared: the Midwest.

This week, four states that began with very low numbers are seeing record surges that mark their highest daily new case counts to date. Though according to The New York Times, the U.S. has managed to lower its overall case count from an average of 66,000 positive tests daily to an average of 40,000, the disturbing new trend demonstrated in these four states just goes to show that we're hardly out of the woods yet. Read on to find out which states saw a record number of daily new COVID cases over the course of the past week. And for more on current COVID surges, check out These 4 States Should Lock Down Right Away, Harvard Researchers Say.


downtown minneapolis minnesota

On Sunday, Sept. 20, Minnesota health officials revealed the state hit a record number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,318 new cases reported, according to MPR News. "The troublesome trends in our neighboring states are a reminder of how quickly we could go from walking the cliff's edge to tumbling over it," Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said on Sept. 17. "We are deeply concerned about the spike of cases in communities all over the state where people don't know how they contracted the virus."


Madison, Wisconsin, USA downtown skyline at dusk on Lake Monona.

The New York Times coronavirus tracker notes that Wisconsin has seen a 139 percent increase in its average new COVID cases from its the average two weeks prior. Perhaps even more disturbing, the single day case count for Sept. 18 was 2,592, the highest number of new cases Wisconsin has seen in a day since the pandemic began.

North Dakota

Snow outside the Fargo theatre in North Dakota

Never before has North Dakota seen its number of new COVID cases climb so high or fast as it has in the past week. The state saw a record number of 504 new COVID cases on Sept. 18. That may not seem particularly high, but when you consider North Dakota has a population of under 800,000, the dire situation starts to become clear.

Many of the state's new cases are being linked to one event in particular: the Sturgis Motorcycle Cycle rally in nearby Sturgis, South Dakota. And for more on how the Dakotas are faring right now, check out This State's COVID Spike is "Deeply Concerning," Says White House.


glacier national park with mountain goats roaming around

Though not in the Midwest, the Midwest-adjacent state of Montana is also suffering right now. On Sept. 17, Montana's 217 new COVID-19 cases was a daily new case record. But on Sept. 18, the state sadly beat out that record again with 224 news cases, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Montana's numbers also started to increase at the end of August after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Other outbreaks have been linked to reopened colleges, like the University of Montana and Montana State University. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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