Four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – have seen a record increase in new cases, according to a Reuters analysis. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new case records last week.
On Sunday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase of at least 49,327 cases from its previous tally and said the death toll increased by at least 703.
While the death rate has declined by about 12%, nearly 210,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.
According to separate data from Johns Hopkins University, only Texas, Missouri and South Carolina have reported a decrease in the number of cases.
New York is one of 18 states where cases have not increased much in the past two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.
COVID precautionary fatigue
But on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was preparing to shut down non-essential businesses, as well as schools, in nine neighborhoods, starting Wednesday. Lockdown would require governor approval.
Meanwhile, Montana has reported a record number of new cases for three of the past four days and also has a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.
Wisconsin set records for new cases for two of the past three days and also reported record hospitalizations on Saturday. On average, 22 percent of tests come back positive, one of the highest rates in the country.
The Democratic governor of Wisconsin mandated masks on August 1, but Republican lawmakers are backing a lawsuit challenging that requirement.
North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin have the highest new cases per capita in the United States.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of many prominent Republicans to have tested positive for coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he had contracted COVID-19.
Due to the increase in the number of cases, some nursing homes and assisted living centers are banning visitors, while Bellin Health, which operates a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said last week that its department emergency procedures were sometimes exceeded and doctors had to place patients in beds in the hallways.
The United States is reporting 42,600 new cases and 700 deaths on average every day, up from 35,000 cases and 800 deaths in mid-September. Deaths are a lagging indicator and tend to increase several weeks after the increase in cases.
Kentucky is the first southern state to report a record increase in cases in several weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said last week was the highest number of cases the state has seen since the start of the pandemic.
State health experts have not identified the reason for the rise, but point to fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges. In the past two weeks, Kentucky has reported nearly 11,000 new cases and has seen hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients increase by 20%.