RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – Southwest Virginia’s COVID-19 case rate rose slightly over the past week, while the state-wide rate rose faster as the BA-2 variant affected multiple city counties, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data.
The nine-county region reported 91 new cases, up from 77 a week earlier, but still a small fraction of the total seen under the Omicron variant. The seven-day rate of new cases, or the spread of society, is 32 per. 100,000 inhabitants, which is close to levels seen at COVID’s low in May and June 2021 before the arrival of the Delta variant.
‘Over the past 13 weeks, four Virginia counties have had COVID death rates above 100 per capita. 100,000 inhabitants with the three highest in Southwest Virginia. ‘
Virginia Department of Health data
The region’s proliferation rate has fluctuated slightly over the past three weeks. It was 31 two weeks ago and 27 last week. Smyth County has the highest current rate of 66, based on just 20 cases over the past week.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s nationwide rate has risen from 56 two weeks ago to 66 last week to 83 this week. Federal officials and public health experts remain unsure how much of an increase the BA-2 variant will cause. It has caused increases in many European countries, but not in some other parts of the world, and so far the United States has followed a path that suggests a smaller increase.
While cases are at a low point, COVID-19’s death toll in the region remains well above that of the state. A further 12 deaths were reported over the past week: three each in Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties, two in Buchanan County and one in Bristol.
Since January 1, 308 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Southwest Virginia, out of 4,401 nationwide. It represents a population-adjusted rate of 107 per. 100,000 in Southwest Virginia to 52 nationwide and 49 nationally.
Over the past 13 weeks, only four Virginia counties have had COVID death rates of over 100 per capita. 100,000, and the top three are in Southwest Virginia: Buchanan at 116, Wise at 113 and Smyth at 103.
The region continues to have a much lower COVID vaccination rate than the state or nation overall at just over 50% fully vaccinated to 73% nationwide.
The region reported only four new hospital admissions last week, two each in Tazewell and Wise counties.