RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Southwest Virginia’s new COVID-19 case rate is up 70% in the past week and broke a record for the third straight day Wednesday, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data. The region’s rate is now rising significantly faster than the statewide rate, which remains higher and continues setting records as well.

VDH reported 468 new cases in the rural nine-county region Wednesday, moving its rolling seven-day average of new daily cases per 100,000 population to 899 — a 9% increase in just one day. Until this week, the previous highest spread rate was 660 on Sept. 16 at the height of the Delta variant surge.

Virginia’s statewide COVID new case rate continues to set records, but Southwest Virginia’s is now growing faster as the Omicron variant has taken full hold in the rural region.

The region also reported three new hospitalizations and two new deaths, with the new deaths in Washington and Wise counties and the hospitalizations in Washington, Wise and Buchanan counties.

Virginia’s overall seven-day case rate increased 8% from 1,397 to 1,504.

Over the past week, though, the state’s rate is up 29% from 1,165, while Southwest Virginia’s rate has increased 70% from 530 to its current 899. The Omicron variant began sending case rates higher in urban areas about 10 days before it reached Southwest Virginia in force.

Washington County has the highest current rate in the region at 1,113. Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties all are above 1,000 as well.

The much-lower-vaccinated region continues to record a significantly higher rate of COVID deaths than the state as a whole. Over the past seven days, Southwest Virginia’s 19 recorded COVID deaths equal 6.6 per 100,000 population. Virginia’s 119 COVID deaths equal just 1.4 per 100,000.

Southwest Virginia still hasn’t reached 50% of its population fully vaccinated, while the state as a whole is approaching 70% in that category.

Southwest Virginia continues to post higher COVID death rates than the state as a whole.

Statewide, VDH reported 941,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Jan. 12.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 1,315,256.

VDH reports there have been 13,163 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

Below is a complete breakdown of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Southwest Virginia:

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. – 2,983 cases / 208 hospitalizations / 58 deaths (26 new cases)
Buchanan County – 3,385 cases / 178 hospitalizations / 89 deaths (31 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Dickenson County – 2,398 cases / 68 hospitalizations / 39 deaths (37 new cases)
Lee County – 4,345 cases / 148 hospitalizations / 70 deaths (33 new cases)
Norton – 855 cases / 38 hospitalizations / 20 deaths (11 new cases)
Russell County – 4,906 cases / 180 hospitalizations / 80 deaths (40 new cases)
Scott County – 4,060 cases / 192 hospitalizations / 92 deaths (13 new cases)
Smyth County – 6,012 cases / 360 hospitalizations / 140 deaths (53 new cases)
Tazewell County – 7,320 cases / 239 hospitalizations / 123 deaths (58 new cases)
Washington County, Va. – 9,922 cases / 714 hospitalizations / 185 deaths (80 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)
Wise County – 7,093 cases / 271 hospitalizations / 152 deaths (86 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)

For full coverage of the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, click HERE.