These Are the Only States Where COVID Cases Are Still Rising

As the Delta surge shows signs of tapering off nationally, infections are still growing here.

For the past two weeks, COVID-19 infections have been decreasing on a national level after a surge that lasted for most of the summer. But the Delta variant responsible for the months-long spike in numbers is still affecting certain areas, with some states still showing COVID cases rising amid the overall decline.

The daily national new case average has decreased significantly in the past seven days, dropping 16 percent to 35 reported cases per 100,000 people according to data from The Washington Post as of Sept. 28. But not all areas of the U.S. are seeing the same level of progress for the time being, with some states still feeling an intense strain on their healthcare system and medical resources.

During an interview with CNN on Sept. 26, Scott Gottlieb, MD, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said he believes the Delta surge is finally showing signs of tapering off and could be finished within a matter of months. "I think by Thanksgiving, it's probably going to have run its course across the whole country," he predicted. "But it's going to seep into the northern parts of the country, the Northeast a little bit later than certainly in the South but even in the Midwest."

Fortunately, Gottlieb even went so far as to forecast that the summer surge may have been the last big spike of the pandemic. "On the back end of this Delta wave, I do think this is the last major surge of infection, barring something unexpected like a new variant coming along that pierces the immunity offered by vaccination or prior infection," he said.

Read on to see the only states where COVID cases were rising over the past week as of Sept. 28, according to data from The Washington Post.

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New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.
  • New cases in the last seven days: 33 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 2 percent

Cases in New Hampshire are up slightly over the past seven days, but state health data shows that a considerable number of cases are affecting young people. On Sept. 24, officials announced that 243 out of 740 new COVID-19 cases were in patients younger than 18 years old.


downtown boise idaho
  • New cases in the last seven days: 69 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 3 percent

COVID cases in Idaho may still be rising slightly, but it's also one of the states where the hospital system is past its breaking point. On Sept. 16, health officials announced the statewide expansion of care rationing that allows healthcare workers to decide which patients will receive scarce medical supplies such as a ventilator or ICU bed based on their likelihood of survival. Some experts argue that the state's relatively low vaccination rate has created a surge in severe cases at the hands of the Delta variant.

"Idaho is having its viral tsunami at the moment," Robert Kim-Farley, MD, an infectious-disease expert at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told The Washington Post. "I anticipate that we'll see even more deaths coming in the near future because of the fact that cases are still increasing. It's going to get worse before it gets better."

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city skyline of buildings in downtown Detroit, Michigan at twilight
  • New cases in the last seven days: 34 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 4 percent

After seeing its statewide mask mandate and restrictions on capacity and public gatherings lifted, Michigan has seen a steep rise in COVID-19 cases. Since state officials dropped the safety protocols on June 22, numbers rose from 91 new daily infections to an average of 2,395 cases per day by Sept. 20, local Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV reports.

"We are all deeply concerned that we are going to have a fourth surge," Geneva Tatum, MD, the associate division head of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Henry Ford Health System, told WDIV. "We have seen the devastating effects that this virus has taken on the human body, including those who were otherwise healthy when they came into the hospital and thought that they didn't have to worry about being affected or infected by COVID, and thought that even if they did get infected that they'd have a relatively brief or low-symptom course. But even those patients, we've seen devastating consequences of COVID-19 disease, and all too often, too many patients who did not survive."

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Minnesota, downtown Minneapolis
f11photo / Shutterstock
  • New cases in the last seven days: 40 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 7 percent

Minnesota may be one of the states where COVID cases are still rising, but local healthcare workers have noticed that one thing has changed during this phase of the pandemic: How old the patients are. The median age of those hospitalized in the state has dropped from 65 last winter to 50 since June, with a typical range of patients from 30 to 76 years old, the Star Tribune reports.

"The age distribution is really different," Matthew Prekker, MD, an emergency and critical care specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune. "It's almost all people under 50 that we're admitting—day after day now."

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North Dakota

downtown fargo and the fargo movie theater in north dakota
  • New cases in the last seven days: 69 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 12 percent

According to state health data, cases have been steadily rising in North Dakota since July 5. As of Sept. 24, there were 3,690 active cases in the state, which is the highest number recorded since Dec. 10.


sitka alaska
  • New cases in the last seven days: 174 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 57 percent

On Sept. 24, Alaska joined Idaho in activating "crisis standards of care" statewide as new cases and hospitalizations continue to mount. Cases in the state have increased twentyfold from the levels they were at in early July, The New York Times reports.

"We're hoping that as the snow falls and we have less people visiting, those numbers will settle down," Anne Zink, MD, Alaska's chief medical officer, said in an interview on Sept. 23, while also adding that cooler weather could also drive people back into high-risk indoor group situations.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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