COVID-19

Far Southwest Virginia’s COVID-19 case total climbed by 23 and one death, according to Friday’s state health data.

The Virginia Department of Health (www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus) reported that the state had 1,183 new cases and 20 deaths in the prior 24 hours for pandemic totals of 164,124 cases and 3,408 deaths.

The LENOWISCO Health District added 23 cases and one death for totals of 1,156 and 23 deaths during the pandemic. Wise County added eight cases for 508 and nine deaths. Scott County also saw eight cases for 248 and five deaths. Lee County added seven cases and a death for 366 cases and nine deaths. Norton remained at 44 cases and no deaths.

The statewide testing rate for people with nasal swab and antigen tests in Friday’s VDH report was 2,528,225 of 8.63 million residents, or 29.3%. For nasal swab testing only, 2,346,899 people have been tested to date, or 27.2%. In the LENOWISCO district, 16,981 of the region’s 86,471 residents have been tested via nasal swab sample for COVID-19, or 19.64%.

Pandemic-wide testing rates by locality were:

• Lee County, 5,413 of 23,423, or 23.11%.

• Norton, 1,716 of 3,981, or 43.1%.

• Wise County, 6,274 of 37,383, or 16.78%.

• Scott County, 3,578 of 21,566, or 16.59%.

Red Onion State Prison’s case totals on Friday remained at 20 inmate cases and one active staff/contractor case, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections COVID-19 webpage (https://vadoc.virginia.gov/news-press-releases/2020/covid-19-updates/).

Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap stayed at no inmate cases but added another staff/contractor case for two cases. Wise Correctional Center near Coeburn also added two staff/contractor cases, for a pandemic total of zero inmate and two staff cases.

The seven-day average rate of positive PCR test results in the LENOWISCO district in Friday’s report rose from 6.9% to 7.5%. The statewide positivity rate rose from 4.7% to 4.8%.

According to Friday’s VDH pandemic measures dashboard (https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/key-measures/pandemic-metrics/region-metrics/), cases in the far southwest region of Virginia — including the LENOWISCO Health District — were ranked as rising after a 25-day increase in cases. The far southwest region was ranked fluctuating in the percent positivity of COVID-19 testing results based on a 10-day decrease in that measure.

Three school systems in the LENOWISCO district — Lee and Scott counties and Norton— were ranked highest-risk based on the 14-day case incidence rate in the district, while Wise County was ranked higher-risk. All four school systems were highest-risk for percent change in seven-day case incidences.

Where to be tested

Do you think you may have COVID-19? Local health departments provide free testing.

The LENOWISCO Health Department, which covers Norton and Lee, Wise and Scott counties, posts regular updates on testing sites across the district and offers free COVID-19 tests at its county offices. Those seeking a test must call in advance for an appointment. Contact numbers for the county offices are:

• Lee County (Jonesville) — (276) 346-2011.

• Scott County (Gate City) — (276) 386-1312.

• Wise County and Norton (Wise) — (276) 328-8000.

Additional testing and COVID-19 precaution information can be found at the LENOWISCO Health District’s Facebook page — www.facebook.com/Lenowisco

The Health Wagon will partner with the Virginia Department of Health to offer 17 sessions of free drive-thru testing at Food City in St. Paul through Dec. 31. Call (276) 328-8850 for an appointment.

In Southwest Virginia, online resources are available to help evaluate whether residents might be infected and where to get a COVID-19 test. The Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDCHECK (https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/) can walk users through symptoms they may be experiencing and help direct them to their local health department office or other available testing sites.