CNN  — 

Only three US states are reporting a decline in new Covid-19 cases compared to last week, as the country hit its highest daily rate of new cases in almost two months.

As of Saturday night, new cases were down in Texas, Missouri and South Carolina, while 21 states reported a rise in cases and a little more than half held steady compared with the week before.

Friday, there were 54,506 new reported cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest single day case number since 64,601 cases were reported on August 14.

From September 29 to October 3, there were an average of 46,500 cases per day – the most cases in a five-day period since August 14-18, JHU data showed.

The climbing coronavirus count comes as the President joined the more than 7.3 million people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US, a sobering reminder of the virus’ reach as health experts urge continued vigilance during the fall and winter months.

The 21 states reporting a rise in new cases are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Wisconsin reported a record number of 2,892 new daily cases on Saturday, according to data from the state’s department of health services. The previous record was set earlier in the week. The state’s governor urged residents to “get back to the basics” of fighting the virus.

“The surges we’re seeing across our state are not an indication that masks don’t work. This underscores what we’ve said all along which is that masks only work if everyone wears them,” Gov. Tony Evers said.

Several Wisconsin health departments, including Brown County health department in the Green Bay area, issued “a Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Alert due to the very high levels of COVID-19 cases resulting in increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths,” the agencies announced Saturday.

A surge in recent Covid-19 cases is straining resources and impacting the ability to contact trace new cases, the alert warned.

A comprehensive approach

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced a proposal to close schools and non-essential businesses for at least two weeks in nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens that have seen test positivity higher than 3% for at least seven consecutive days.

The mayor’s plan requires approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but it would represent a major step back for the city’s reopening efforts. New York has largely managed to contain the spread of the virus since the spring, when it was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in America.

“What has become clear is that there are a number of neighborhoods now that have continued to have a high level of coronavirus positivity and that requires stronger action than we’ve had to take for many months,” de Blasio said.

To get on top of the numbers, the US needs a more “comprehensive approach,” Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday.

“Testing does not replace safety measures including consistent mask use, physical distancing, and hand washing,” said Frieden.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear responded to the state’s record high of 1,275 cases in one day with a request that everyone wear masks and a reminder that “we have to do better.”