These 8 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Surges Right Now

The national daily case average continues to push well above its previous record.

The spread of the Omicron variant continues to push the COVID-19 pandemic to new heights in the U.S. On Jan. 10, 1.35 million new cases were reported nationally, marking only the second time since the start of the pandemic that more than a million cases had been added on a single day, as Reuters reports. And on a more local level, certain states are grappling with COVID surges as the latest wave of the virus continues to sweep across the nation.

The past two weeks have seen the national daily case average rise dramatically, increasing 203 percent to 737,415 as of Jan. 10, according to data from The New York Times. Unfortunately, while Omicron has been widely found to cause less severe disease in some people than previous variants, hospitalizations still reached a pandemic high of 132,646 patients on Jan. 11, surpassing the previous record of 132,051 set last January, per Reuters. During an interview with ABC's This Week on Jan. 10, Ashish Jha, MD, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, warned that the situation was leading to very different experiences for those infected.

"We're seeing two sets of things happening: A lot of vaccinated people getting infected. We're doing fine. Largely avoiding getting particularly sick, avoiding the hospital; a lot of unvaccinated people and high-risk people who have not gotten boosted and they're really filling up the hospitals, and so our hospital systems are under a lot of stress," Jha explained. "Then we have to start thinking about a long-term strategy for how do we manage this virus and not go from surge to surge feeling like we don't really have a longer-termed approach."

Fortunately, Jha also remained optimistic that the recent spike in cases may begin to wane relatively soon. "I expect this surge to peak in the next couple of weeks," he predicted. "It'll peak in different places of America at different times, but once we get into February, I really do expect much, much lower case numbers."

Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of more than 150 percent over the past week as of Jan. 11, according to data from The Washington Post.

RELATED: If You Notice Pain Here, It May Be an Omicron Symptom, Doctors Warn.


photo take by a drone of the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana
  • New cases in the last seven days: 83 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 153 percent

On Jan. 10, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reported 1,939 cases and 7,713 active cases statewide. Hospitalizations had also risen slightly to 154 over the weekend.

"We know the highly transmissible Omicron is spreading in the state," state officials wrote in an email on Jan. 10. "DPHHS urges all eligible Montanans to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and get boosted."

New Mexico

cityscape photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico at dusk
  • New cases in the last seven days: 130 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 158 percent

State health officials in New Mexico announced that there were 9,284 COVID-19 cases reported on Jan. 10. The current positive test rate is also 25.8 percent statewide.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is When Omicron Cases Will Start Going Down.

North Dakota

cityscape photo Fargo, North Dakota in the afternoon
  • New cases in the last seven days: 155 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 159 percent

On Jan. 6, the North Dakota Department of Health reported that cases had jumped by about 800 since in three days, marking the sharpest increase recorded in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. It also reported the rolling positivity rate was 10.6 percent, making it the highest seen since December 2020.

South Dakota

An aerial photo of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • New cases in the last seven days: 179 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 193 percent

Health officials in South Dakota reported an increase of 1,683 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 10, bringing the state's cumulative total for the pandemic to 191,094. Hospitalizations also rose by six over the weekend to 307.

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Rhode Island

The skyline of Providence, Rhode Island from the water at dusk
  • New cases in the last seven days: 657 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 251 percent

An additional 13,765 COVID cases were reported over the weekend by health officials in Rhode Island on Jan. 10, bringing the state's all-time total to 279,831. The state's positivity rate was also 15.2 percent, with 410 current hospitalizations from the virus.


The skyline of Portland, Oregon at dusk
  • New cases in the last seven days: 130 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 259 percent

Cases are rising quickly in Oregon, where health authorities published a new list of guidelines for hospitals forced to activate crisis standards of care on Jan. 7. The state has averaged about 6,750 new cases a day over the past week and saw an 11 percent jump in hospitalizations over the weekend.

RELATED: These 2 New COVID Symptoms Could Mean You Have Omicron, Experts Warn.


The skyline of downtown San Diego, California
  • New cases in the last seven days: 282 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 265 percent

California reported a staggering 308,820 new COVID cases over the weekend on Jan. 10. The state has now tallied more than 6 million cumulative cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"When we look at what is happening as regards to COVID, we know hundreds of thousands of Californians [are] becoming infected," Mark Ghaly, MD, the California health and human services secretary, said during a press conference. "Thankfully, because of the high level of immunity and vaccination protection, the rate of hospitalization is lower, but that's with that sheer number of cases. Even with a lower percentage being hospitalized, it still means quite a bit of work, quite a bit of pressure on our healthcare delivery system."

South Carolina

downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina in the afternoon
  • New cases in the last seven days: 330 cases per 100,000 people
  • Percent increase in the last seven days: 287 percent

South Carolina broke its single-day case record when it reported 16,630 new infections on Jan. 6, breaking the previous record set just two days earlier of 13,320. The latest report nearly doubles the last single-day high reported on Dec. 30 of 8,800, showing a rapid spread of the virus in the state.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says This Is When the Omicron Wave Will Peak.

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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