RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Southwest Virginia’s COVID-19 community spread rate shot up again over the weekend to nearly double its level a month ago, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data released Monday.

The nine-county region reported 382 new COVID-19 cases over three days. That brought the rolling seven-day average of new cases to 418 per 100,000 population. Virginia’s statewide rate also rose sharply over the weekend to 186, though that’s still less than half rural Southwest Virginia’s figure.

The biggest contributor to the current surge is Washington County, where the rate has increased to 522 per 100,000, well over double its rate of just a couple weeks ago. Scott County’s case rate is nearly as high at 519.

The recent case increase is continuing to show up in a rise in COVID hospitalizations, with 23 reported over the weekend. Most of those were in Washington County, Bristol and neighboring Smyth County, as Washington County reported nine, Bristol six and Smyth County three. Russell and Buchanan counties each reported two new hospitalizations while Scott and Dickenson each reported one.

A total of three new deaths were reported regionally out of just 18 reported statewide. The regional deaths included two in Buchanan County and one in Smyth County.

The rise in hospitalizations has put the region’s COVID hospitalization rate back to its highest level since early November.

The seven-day rolling average is 17.6 hospitalizations per 100,000, nearly four times Virginia’s overall rate of 4.6 — which also has risen recently.

The seven-day rate of new deaths is 4.5 per 100,000, which is four-and-a-half times Virginia’s rate of 1.0.

The rate of vaccinated Southwest Virginians actually gained on the state rate over the weekend — likely due to a data adjustment — but remains far behind the state’s rate.

The percentage of Southwest Virginians with at least one COVID dose is 52.5%, compared to 74.9% statewide. The fully vaccinated rates are 46.2% in Southwest Virginia and 65.6% statewide.

Washington County (including Bristol) became the region’s first locality to exceed 50% fully vaccinated over the weekend and now stands at 50.6%.

Statewide, VDH reported 723,503 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Dec. 6.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 983,055.

VDH reports there have been 12,400 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

Below is a complete breakdown of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Southwest Virginia since Dec. 3.

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. – 2,470 cases / 189 hospitalizations / 50 deaths (18 new cases, 6 new hospitalizations)
Buchanan County – 2,866 cases / 166 hospitalizations / 81 deaths (25 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations, 2 new deaths)
Dickenson County – 2,007 cases / 66 hospitalizations / 30 deaths (17 new cases)
Lee County – 3,952 cases / 142 hospitalizations / 62 deaths (7 new cases)
Norton – 670 cases / 35 hospitalizations / 17 deaths (5 new cases)
Russell County – 4,212 cases / 165 hospitalizations / 69 deaths (34 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations)
Scott County – 3,522 cases / 180 hospitalizations / 84 deaths (39 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Smyth County – 5,277 cases / 339 hospitalizations / 126 deaths (41 new cases, 3 new hospitalizations, 1 new death)
Tazewell County – 6,233 cases / 225 hospitalizations / 119 deaths (57 new cases)
Washington County, Va. – 8,366 cases / 656 hospitalizations / 160 deaths (99 new cases, 9 new hospitalizations)
Wise County – 6,009 cases / 239 hospitalizations / 132 deaths (40 new cases)

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