RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Six new COVID-19 deaths were reported in Southwest Virginia Tuesday, and data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) show the region’s rolling seven-day average of new COVID deaths is at its highest point in almost a month.

The new deaths — three in Washington County and one each in Dickenson, Smyth and Wise counties — put the seven-day average at 7.3 deaths per 100,000 population, which is about three and a half times the state rate of 2.3.

The region also had 11 new hospitalizations reported.

The region’s new case rate, on the other hand, dropped to 358 new weekly cases per 100,000 from 370 on Monday as 152 new cases were reported.

Virginia’s statewide rate inched up to 209. While the nine-county region’s case rate is still well above Virginia’s, it is closer than it has been in almost three months.

Fallout from the surge shows in hospitalizations, deaths

The case rate in Southwest Virginia nearly doubled between Nov. 15 and Dec. 7, shooting up from 221 per 100,000 to 421.

Hospitalization and death rates are lagging indicators, as it takes a while for people to become sick and die from the disease when that is the outcome and additional time for VDH to record and report those metrics.

As those case rates were on the rise, both hospitalization and death rates were declining — the result of cases going down through most of October.

But since Nov. 27, the seven-day hospitalization rate has jumped from 5.5 per 100,000 to 16.9 Tuesday. It has stayed mostly between 15 and 20 for the past 10 days, which is well over triple Virginia’s overall rate.

The seven-day death rate has also increased over the past couple of weeks and could be set to rise more if past trends related to case and hospitalization increases hold.

The new hospitalizations reported Tuesday included five in Washington County, three in Bristol, two in Smyth County and one in Tazewell County.

Washington County has had one of the state’s highest case rates the past two weeks and has reported 39 new hospitalizations just since Dec. 1. The region’s most populous county has also reported seven new deaths over the past six days alone.

Statewide, VDH reported 736,568 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Dec. 14.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 1,003,110.

VDH reports there have been 12,578 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. – 2,564 cases / 195 hospitalizations / 50 deaths (6 new cases, 3 new hospitalizations)
Buchanan County – 2,939 cases / 167 hospitalizations / 82 deaths (10 new cases)
Dickenson County – 2,087 cases / 67 hospitalizations / 31 deaths (5 new cases, 1 new death)
Lee County – 4,005 cases / 145 hospitalizations / 62 deaths (6 new cases)
Norton – 696 cases / 35 hospitalizations / 17 deaths (1 new case)
Russell County – 4,345 cases / 165 hospitalizations / 70 deaths (16 new cases)
Scott County – 3,597 cases / 185 hospitalizations / 87 deaths (9 new cases)
Smyth County – 5,391 cases / 345 hospitalizations / 129 deaths (11 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations, 1 new death)
Tazewell County – 6,385 cases / 226 hospitalizations / 120 deaths (19 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Washington County, Va. – 8,645 cases / 683 hospitalizations / 167 deaths (41 new cases, 5 new hospitalizations, 3 new deaths)
Wise County – 6,178 cases / 244 hospitalizations / 135 deaths (28 new cases, 1 new death)

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