COVID-19

The LENOWISCO Health District saw another day of single-digit increases in COVID-19 cases, according to state data Wednesday.

The Virginia Department of Health’s Wednesday report (www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus) said the state saw 845 new cases and 43 deaths in the prior 24 hours for pandemic totals of 136,359 infections and 2,884 deaths.

The VDH noted that the spike in the number of deaths was due to backlogs in death certificate data reporting.

Far Southwest Virginia saw four new cases but no deaths in the VDH’s Wednesday report, for 843 cases and 17 deaths in the LENOWISCO Health District during the pandemic. Lee County added three cases for 251 and six deaths.

Wise County saw one case for pandemic totals of 383 and seven deaths. Norton remained at 33 cases and no deaths.

Scott County saw no new cases for totals of 176 cases and four deaths.

According to the VDH, there were two more COVID-19 outbreaks in unspecified education settings — four such outbreaks total — in the LENOWISCO Health District, for a pandemic total of 22 outbreaks.

Red Onion State Prison’s case total Wednesday remained at 20 inmate cases and three 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 posted no inmate cases or active staff/contractor case. Wise Correctional Center near Coeburn posted no cases, for a pandemic total of zero cases.

The statewide testing rate for people with nasal swab and antigen tests in Wednesday’s VDH report was 1,937,867 of 8.63 million state residents, or 22.46%. For nasal swab testing only, 1,799,851 people have been tested to date, or 20.86%.

In the LENOWISCO district, 13,357 of the region’s 86,471 residents have been tested via nasal swab sample for COVID-19, or 15.45%.

Pandemic-wide testing rates by locality were:

— Lee County, 4,390 of 23,423, or 18.74%

— Norton, 1,337 of 3,981, or 35.58%

— Wise County, 4,955 of 37,383, or 13.25%

— Scott County, 2,675 of 21,566, or 12.4%

The rate of positive test results in the LENOWISCO district dropped in Wednesday’s report from 10.7% to 10.5%. The statewide positivity rate stood at 6.9 %.

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 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. 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

The LENOWISCO Health District will also offer drive-through testing in September at Food City supermarkets in Big Stone Gap and Coeburn in September from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call the district office at (276) 328-8000 for dates, preregistration and appointments.

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 VDH to offer 17 sessions of free drive-through testing at Food City in St. Paul through Dec. 31. Call (276) 328-8850 to schedule an appointment.