The most accurate method for measuring outbreak of COVID-19 is the number of deaths. It can still be inaccurate if some are missed or the there are deaths included which are "presumptive" or where a primary cause is ignored to blame the disease. However, it is better than almost any other. Tested positive is probably the worst because it depends on how many tests are available and how they are used (there will never be one test for all 327,000,000 of us).
I live within an hour of five States. Tennessee, got slammed for staying open longer and not coming down as hard on their citizens as other States. Kentucky has been the darling of those who think shutting everything down is the proper model. There was even bit of fluff that spiked in social media and some news sites comparing number of cases in Kentucky and Tennessee to make it look like Kentucky has done better.
Here's a chart of absolute case numbers (current as of 13 April):
|Population: Va-8.5m, Tn-6.8m, Ky-4.5m, NC-10.5m, WVa-1.8m
Here's the chart by death rates in each State:
Are lock downs working?