RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — A surge in new COVID-19 cases continues to plague Washington County, Va., which had the state’s highest rolling seven-day case average to start the week.

Data released Friday from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) show Southwest Virginia’s largest county with a seven-day rate of 513 new cases per 100,000 population. That includes the population of Bristol, and the county and city’s averages are nearly identical.

The county’s case rate has more than doubled in the past week.

Overall, the nine-county region added 201 new cases Friday, increasing its case rate slightly to 401. Virginia’s overall rate rose slightly as well, to 205. While Washington County’s rate may be the highest in the state, seven of the region’s nine counties have current rates above 370.

Virginia’s statewide COVID new case rate has grown more quickly than Southwest Virginia’s the past couple weeks but remains barely half the region’s average.

For the first time in several months, the statewide rate has risen more quickly than Southwest Virginia’s over the past couple of weeks.

Since Nov. 23, the state rate is up 47%, from 139 to its current 205. Over that same period, the region’s rate has increased 20%, from 334 to 401. The current U.S. rate is 250.

Hospitalizations and deaths

A total of four new deaths were reported Friday in the region, out of 27 statewide. They included two in Wise County and one each in Russell and Tazewell counties.

Four new hospitalizations were reported as well, with two in Washington County, one in Bristol and one in Buchanan County.

Since Sept. 1, the region’s hospitalization and death rates per 100,000 remain close to triple the state averages. Washington and Smyth counties also have the state’s two highest hospitalization rates over the course of the pandemic at 1,221 and 1,126 per 100,000.


Southwest Virginia’s vaccination rate has continued to fall further and further behind the state rate. The trend has accelerated since 5 to 11-year-olds became eligible for vaccinations.

More than a month after vaccinations opened up to children 5 to 11, Southwest Virginia’s rate of vaccinated kids is barely a third of the state’s percentage, and half of the U.S. average.

As of Friday, the statewide rate of 75.3% with at least one vaccine dose was comparatively nearly 50% higher than Southwest Virginia’s rate of 52.6%. Almost two thirds of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, at 66.1%, compared to 46.4% of Southwest Virginians.

Through Friday, VDH reported that 25.7% of children 5 to 11 had received at least one dose of the vaccine. The rate in Southwest Virginia is barely a third of that, at 8.8%.

The gap between the state and the region for 12 to 15-year-olds isn’t quite as wide. But only 35.3% of that age group in Southwest Virginia has gotten at least one shot, compared to 69% statewide.

Statewide, VDH reported 730,718 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth on Dec. 10.

According to VDH, the total number of confirmed and probable cases is 994,069

VDH reports there have been 12,513 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. – 2,535 cases / 190 hospitalizations / 50 deaths (27 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Buchanan County – 2,920 cases / 167 hospitalizations / 82 deaths (10 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Dickenson County – 2,063cases / 67 hospitalizations / 30 deaths (7 new cases)
Lee County – 3,981 cases / 144 hospitalizations / 62 deaths (10 new cases)
Norton – 687 cases / 35 hospitalizations / 17 deaths (5 new cases)
Russell County – 4,300 cases / 165 hospitalizations / 70 deaths (21 new cases, 1 new death)
Scott County – 3,568 cases / 184 hospitalizations / 86 deaths (13 new cases)
Smyth County – 5,348 cases / 343 hospitalizations / 126 deaths (17 new cases)
Tazewell County – 6,2325 cases / 225 hospitalizations / 120 deaths (21 new cases, 1 new death)
Washington County, Va. – 8,546 cases / 664 hospitalizations / 161 deaths (49 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations)
Wise County – 6,116 cases / 244 hospitalizations / 134 deaths (21 new cases, 2 new deaths)

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