COVID-19 death rates continue to increase in Southwest Virginia, 4x state average

Local Coronavirus Coverage

New COVID death rates have risen recently in Southwest Virginia to four times the state rate, though hospitalization rates have begun to drop.

RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — The COVID-19 new death rate in Southwest Virginia reached four times the state average Friday as new case and hospitalization rates both dropped in the nine-county region, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

VDH reported 80 new cases and three new deaths in the region Friday, as well as three new hospitalizations.

The new deaths were in Scott, Tazewell and Washington counties. The three represented 11% of the state’s daily count of 27 new COVID deaths, even though Southwest Virginia accounts for just 3.4% of the total population.

The rolling seven-day average of new deaths increased to 9.0 regionally. That’s its highest level since late October and is up from 6.2 at the beginning of the month.

The increase in COVID deaths — 29 have been reported in just the past six days — comes after weeks of new case rates around 2.4 times the state average. Deaths tend to be a lagging indicator, suggesting the gap between the region and state and national average could remain for some time.

The new case rate declined from 246 per 100,000 to 226, whereas Virginia’s overall rate rose slightly, from 108 to 109.

The new hospitalization rate dropped all the way from 11.7 to 6.9. The state rate is 3.6, with Friday’s report marking the first time in almost a month that the regional number isn’t more than double the state rate.

Vaccinations increased significantly both statewide and regionally due largely to the opening of vaccine availability to 5- to 11-year-olds.

The percentage of Southwest Virginians with at least one vaccine dose broke 50%, but at 50.1% it remains more than 20% behind the statewide figure of 71.6%.

Statewide, VDH reported 698,737 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Nov. 12.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 942,837.

VDH reports there have been 12,033 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

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

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. – 2,320 cases / 179 hospitalizations / 48 deaths
Buchanan County – 2,620 cases / 155 hospitalizations / 70 deaths (8 new cases)
Dickenson County – 1,746 cases / 60 hospitalizations / 28 deaths (9 new cases)
Lee County – 3,782 cases / 140 hospitalizations / 61 deaths (12 new cases)
Norton – 616 cases / 31 hospitalizations / 15 deaths (2 new cases)
Russell County – 3,914 cases / 159 hospitalizations / 66 deaths (8 new cases)
Scott County – 3,254 cases / 173 hospitalizations / 82 deaths (3 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations, 1 new death)
Smyth County – 5,015 cases / 322 hospitalizations / 121 deaths (10 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Tazewell County – 5,845 cases / 217 hospitalizations / 114 deaths (11 new cases, 1 new death)
Washington County, Va. – 7,791 cases / 624 hospitalizations / 153 deaths (12 new cases, 1 new death)
Wise County – 5,580 cases / 230 hospitalizations / 129 deaths (5 new cases)

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

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