Region’s 7-day death rate triple the state average

RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported another 13 COVID-19 deaths in Southwest Virginia over the weekend along with 564 new cases.

The new deaths pushed the nine-county region’s seven-day rolling average to its highest point during the delta surge: 11.4 deaths per 100,000, which is more than triple Virginia’s overall rate of 3.6.

Buchanan and Russell counties each reported three new deaths, with Smyth and Tazewell each reported two. One death each was reported in Dickenson, Lee and Washington counties.

COVID case, hospitalization and death rates are far higher in Southwest Virginia than the state as a whole, while the vaccination rate is much lower.

The region, which includes Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, Washington, Smyth and Tazewell counties as well as the cities of Bristol and Norton, has far fewer vaccinated people per capita than the state as a whole.

As of Sunday, 42% of Southwest Virginians were fully vaccinated, which is barely over two-thirds the statewide total of 60.5%.

The seven-day case rate rose slightly in Southwest Virginia, from 477 new cases per 100,000 population to 485. It dropped very slightly in Virginia, from 228 to 225.

Southwest Virginia’s case rate has been more than double the state’s since Sept. 15, when the region was near the end of a rapid weeklong spike in cases that brought it to a high of 660 weekly new cases per 100,000 population.

The descent has been slower than the rise, both statewide and in the region.

Smyth County’s COVID case rate puts it among the 50 highest rates among the nation’s 3000-plus counties.

Case rates in the region have begun to separate some after spending several weeks in a fairly tight band around the overall average.

Smyth County has traded the highest case rate with Lee County for more than a week, and it maintained a very high rate after reporting 109 new cases over the weekend.

It’s now at 811 new weekly cases per 100,000, which puts it in the top 50 nationally according to a New York Times database. Scott and Russell counties are next highest at 658 and 639.

VDH reports the test positivity percentage is 17% in Smyth County, while it’s also above 15% in Washington, Tazewell and Lee counties.

Tazewell and Washington counties’ rates are below 400, while Buchanan’s is barely above the state rate at 229.

Eight more people were admitted to an area hospital to battle the virus.

Statewide, VDH reported 655,601 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Oct. 4.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 877,090.

VDH reports there have been 10,886 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

Note: VDH does not report whether cases are active or recovered. County and community case totals can include active, recovered, confirmed and probable cases.

Bristol, Va. – 2,171 cases / 156 hospitalizations / 44 deaths (15 new cases)
Buchanan County – 2,171 cases / 133 hospitalizations / 53 deaths (20 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 3 new deaths)
Dickenson County – 1,489 cases / 53 hospitalizations / 23 deaths (44 new cases, 1 new death)
Lee County – 3,482 cases / 133 hospitalizations / 54 deaths (45 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)
Norton – 508 cases / 28 hospitalizations / 11 deaths (10 new cases)
Russell County – 3,474 cases / 147 hospitalizations / 52 deaths (64 new cases, 3 new deaths)
Scott County – 2,820 cases / 158 hospitalizations / 71 deaths (65 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Smyth County – 4,360 cases / 256 hospitalizations / 105 deaths (109 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations, 2 new deaths)
Tazewell County – 5,394 cases / 213 hospitalizations / 92 deaths (51 new cases, 2 new deaths)
Washington County, Va. – 7,040 cases / 540 hospitalizations / 133 deaths (82 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)
Wise County – 4,740 cases / 216 hospitalizations / 121 deaths (59 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations)

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