COVID-19

Far Southwest Virginia saw a slowdown in COVID-19 cases, according to Monday’s state data report.

The Virginia Department of Health (www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus) reported that the state had 2,677 new cases and six additional deaths in the prior 24 hours for pandemic totals of 204,637 cases and 3,806 deaths.

The LENOWISCO Health District saw 29 cases for totals of 2,462 and 36 deaths during the pandemic. Wise County had 22 cases for totals of 1,028 and 14 deaths. Lee County saw five cases for 744 and 11 deaths.

Scott County added two cases for 627 and 11 deaths, while Norton remained at 63 cases and no deaths.

The statewide testing rate for people with nasal swab and antigen tests in Monday’s VDH report was 3,180,853 of 8.63 million residents, or 36.86%. For nasal swab testing only, 2,938,133 people have been tested to date, or 34.04%. In the LENOWISCO district, 21,909 of the region’s 86,471 residents have been tested via nasal swab sample for COVID-19, or 25.34%.

testing rates by locality:

• Lee County, 6,828 of 23,423, or 29.15%

• Norton, 2,085 of 3,981, or 52.37%

• Wise County, 8,245 of 37,383, or 22.1%

• Scott County, 4,751 of 21,566, or 22.03%

Red Onion State Prison remained at 20 inmate cases and no active staff/contractor cases, 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 remained at no inmate cases and dropped from two to one active staff/contractor case. Wise Correctional Center near Coeburn remained at 16 inmate cases and dropped from one to no active staff cases.

The seven-day average rate of positive PCR test results in the LENOWISCO district in Monday’s report rose from 13.5% to 15%. The statewide positivity rate rose from 7% to 7.3%

According to Monday’s VDH pandemic measures dashboard, cases in the far southwest region of Virginia — including the LENOWISCO Health District — were ranked as rising after a 56-day increase in cases. The far southwest region ranking for percent positivity of COVID-19 testing results remained increasing based on a 36-day increase in that measure.

All four school systems in the LENOWISCO district — Wise, Lee and Scott counties and Norton — were ranked as highest- risk based on the 14-day case incidence rate in the district. Norton City and Scott County Schools were ranked highest-risk for percent change in seven- day case incidences. Wise County schools were ranked lower-risk, and Lee County Schools ranked lowest-risk.

Where to be tested

Do you think you might 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 a user through symptoms they may be experiencing and help direct them to their local health department office or other available testing sites.