Lee, Smyth counties have highest COVID-19 spread rates in Virginia – among top 50 in nation

Local Coronavirus Coverage

COVID community spread rates in two Southwest Virginia counties are among the top 50 in the nation – and the highest in the state.

RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Southwest Virginia’s new COVID case rate remained far above the state’s average after the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 220 new cases in the nine-county region Tuesday.

VDH also reported three new hospitalizations and three new deaths (two in Tazewell County and one in Norton) regionally.

The seven-day rolling average of new weekly cases per 100,000 people — known as the community spread rate — inched upward from 559 to 561 regionally. It dropped from 254 to 246 statewide.

Case rates soared in the region during the second week of September after entering the month around 60% above the state average. They’ve since pulled back some, but not as much as the state rate has dropped.

That’s put the gap between the region and the state at its highest level of the delta variant surge — 128% above the state average.

Lee and Smyth counties are experiencing the highest spread rates currently, with Lee at 890 and Smyth at 820. That puts them at 38th and 42nd-highest of the nation’s 3,006 counties according to a tracking system published and updated daily by the New York Times.

No other counties in Virginia have higher rates right now.

The region’s population-adjusted death and hospitalization rates remained far above the state averages for the month of September, and as a seven-day rolling average.

Per capita hospitalization and death rates are much higher in Southwest Virginia than statewide during the month of September.

The region’s 183 new COVID hospitalizations this month equals 63.2 per 100,000, which is about double the state rate of 32.7.

Southwest Virginia’s 68 reported deaths this month equals 23.5 per 100,000, which is two-and-a-half times Virginia’s statewide rate of 9 per 100,000.

The seven-day averages show Southwest Virginia’s hospitalization rate close to triple the state’s rate, with the death rate 2.5 times the state average. There have been 23 deaths and 55 hospitalizations reported in the past week.

VDH reported 644,499 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Sept. 28.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 860,493, an increase of 2,641 from Monday.

VDH reports there have been 10,674 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state, an increase of 49 from Monday.

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. – 2,145 cases / 152 hospitalizations / 43 deaths (8 new cases)
Buchanan County – 2,126 cases / 131 hospitalizations / 48 deaths (3 new cases)
Dickenson County – 1,423 cases / 53 hospitalizations / 22 deaths (8 new cases)
Lee County – 3,386 cases / 131 hospitalizations / 52 deaths (19 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Norton – 488 cases / 28 hospitalizations / 10 deaths (2 new cases, 1 new death)
Russell County – 3,338 cases / 146 hospitalizations / 48 deaths (34 new cases)
Scott County – 2,689 cases / 155 hospitalizations / 68 deaths (11 new cases)
Smyth County – 4,159 cases / 247 hospitalizations / 100 deaths (43 new cases)
Tazewell County – 5,265 cases / 213 hospitalizations / 88 deaths (18 new cases, 2 new deaths)
Washington County, Va. – 6,862 cases / 530 hospitalizations / 132 deaths (30 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Wise County – 4,594 cases / 214 hospitalizations / 118 deaths (44 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)

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

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