RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Southwest Virginia’s rate of new COVID cases reached a record for the second straight day and is increasing at more than double the statewide rate as the Omicron variant takes hold regionally, Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data show.

The nine-county region reported 457 new cases Tuesday, pushing the seven-day rolling average to 817 new cases per 100,000 population. That rate has jumped 48% in the past week.

The Omicron variant sent Virginia’s new case rate shooting past Southwest Virginia’s in late September. Now the rural region is catching up.

While it’s still well below Virginia’s current record statewide rate of 1,397, the state’s growth rate has slowed to 18% in the past week.

About a quarter of the rural region’s most populous county, Washington, has the highest current rate at 1,026 (including Bristol). Buchanan County reported 64 new cases Tuesday and became the second area county with a rate above 1,000 at 1,024.

Lee County has the lowest spread rate at 534 new weekly cases per 100,000.

The region continued to maintain a much higher COVID death rate than the state as four of the state’s 44 new deaths were reported in Southwest Virginia. Those included three in Wise County and one in Dickenson County.

Nearly three times as many Southwest Virginians per capita have died of COVID since September compared to the statewide rate.

Southwest Virginia is averaging 5.9 weekly deaths per 100,000 people the past seven days, more than five times Virginia’s rate of 1.1. The state did post its highest single-day death total since Dec. 22, however.

Virginia’s new COVID hospitalization rate dropped slightly from its all-time highs. The 177 new hospitalizations moved the seven-day average to 22.1 per 100,000, the lowest level since Jan. 1.

Southwest Virginia reported five new hospitalizations — three in Wise County and one each in Norton and Dickenson County. The region’s rate, which was much higher than the state’s until the Omicron variant hit more urban parts of the state first, dropped to 12.4 from 14.5 on Monday.

The region’s COVID hospitalization rate since Sept. 1 remains about double that of Virginia as a whole — 267 per 100,000 population in Southwest Virginia to 135 statewide.

The death rates since then are 133 in Southwest Virginia and 45 statewide.

The region’s vaccination rate continues to slip further behind the state’s. The state rate of new vaccinations grew by twice as much as the region’s over the past week and the fully vaccinated rate statewide is more than 20% above the regional rate.

Statewide, VDH reported 927,416 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Jan. 11.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 1,295,420.

VDH reports there have been 13,129 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. – 2,957 cases / 208 hospitalizations / 58 deaths (24 new cases)
Buchanan County – 3,354 cases / 177 hospitalizations / 89 deaths (64 new cases)
Dickenson County – 2,361 cases / 68 hospitalizations / 39 deaths (25 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)
Lee County – 4,312 cases / 148 hospitalizations / 70 deaths (18 new cases)
Norton – 844 cases / 38 hospitalizations / 20 deaths (19 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Russell County – 4,866 cases / 180 hospitalizations / 80 deaths (21 new cases)
Scott County – 4,047 cases / 192 hospitalizations / 92 deaths (25 new cases)
Smyth County – 5,959 cases / 360 hospitalizations / 140 deaths (43 new cases)
Tazewell County – 7,262 cases / 239 hospitalizations / 123 deaths (50 new cases)
Washington County, Va. – 9,842 cases / 713 hospitalizations / 184 deaths (102 new cases)
Wise County – 7,007 cases / 270 hospitalizations / 151 deaths (66 new cases, 3 new hospitalizations, 3 new deaths)

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