RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Southwest Virginia’s seven-day new COVID-19 case rate jumped 27% the past three days and is up 60% the past week — even as the statewide rate dropped over the weekend and is unchanged over the past week.

The numbers from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) make clear the different stage of the Omicron variant wave the rural, nine-county region is in compared to other parts of the state.

After falling far behind the statewide rate in early January, Southwest Virginia’s new COVID-19 case rate is rapidly approaching the state average as the Omicron variant batters the rural region.

Southwest Virginia reported 1,593 cases over the three days, and Washington County (including Bristol) and Buchanan County became the first localities since late December to have a higher seven-day case rate than the state average.

The region’s rolling seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 population is 1,205, which is 87% of the statewide rate of 1,387. Washington County, which combined with Bristol reported 506 new cases over the weekend, has a rate of 1,452. Buchanan County reported 135 new cases Saturday, and its rate is 1,614.

Just two weeks ago, the regional rate was 522 and was less than half the state average of 1,090. But in those two weeks, Southwest Virginia’s rate is up 131% — the state’s is up just 27%.

The number of new COVID hospitalizations reported remained significantly lower in Southwest Virginia than statewide. Three new hospitalizations were reported, in Buchanan, Smyth and Wise counties, but one was removed from Norton’s tally for a net gain of just two.

Statewide there were 510 new COVID hospitalizations reported.

Southwest Virginia’s COVID death rate has remained well above the state’s rate even as state new case numbers have far surpassed those in the region.

Smyth County had the only newly reported COVID death, and only 11 were reported statewide over the entire weekend.

The low numbers may be due in part to VDH updating its case definition for COVID-19 associated deaths to agree with recently updated COVID-19 associated deaths. According to the VDH website, “(t)here will be a delay in reporting new COVID-19 associated deaths during January 2022 as VDH applies these changes.” 

Statewide, VDH reported 1,000,259 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Jan. 17.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 1,397,155.

VDH reports there have been 13,204 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the state.

Below is a complete breakdown of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Southwest Virginia, with new case numbers spanning Jan. 15-17:

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. – 3,218 cases / 208 hospitalizations / 59 deaths (158 new cases)
Buchanan County – 3,629 cases / 180 hospitalizations / 90 deaths (179 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Dickenson County – 2,520 cases / 68 hospitalizations / 40 deaths (70 new cases)
Lee County – 4,523 cases / 149 hospitalizations / 71 deaths (124 new cases)
Norton – 906 cases / 37 hospitalizations / 20 deaths (28 new cases, -1 hospitalization)
Russell County – 5,137 cases / 180 hospitalizations / 80 deaths (123 new cases)
Scott County – 4,260 cases / 192 hospitalizations / 92 deaths (125 new cases)
Smyth County – 6,271 cases / 362 hospitalizations / 141 deaths (156 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)
Tazewell County – 7,526 cases / 239 hospitalizations / 123 deaths (120 new cases)
Washington County, Va. – 10,479 cases / 714 hospitalizations / 186 deaths (348 new cases)
Wise County – 7,374 cases / 273 hospitalizations / 153 deaths (162 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)

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