The darker the color, the higher the virus infection rate, with black and gray being the highest. Localities in green have the lowest infection rates. Courtesy of The Daily Yonder.

For the third straight week, the number of COVID-19 infections has fallen nationally, but the rates continue to rise in Southwest and Southside Virginia, with the highest rates of all generally in far Southwest.

The Daily Yonder, a website that covers rural issues, reports that last week virus infection rates fell by a slightly higher rate in rural areas than in metro areas. However, that was not the case in Southwest and Southside Virginia, where most localities saw virus rates continue to increase. Southwest and Southside also remain the least-vaccinated parts of Virginia. The Daily Yonder has produced an interactive map that shows virus infection rates for each locality in the country for last week.

For the week ending Oct. 9 (keep in mind that reporting health data lags), these are the localities in Virginia with the highest infection rates, as measured on a cases-per-100,000 people basis:

  1. Smyth County 803.9, up from 704.2 the week before
  2. Franklin (city) 753.1, down from 765.7
  3. Buena Vista, 741.1, up from 663.8
  4. Norton, 728.5, up from 401.9
  5. Salem 557.3, up from 494.1
  6. Scott County 551.8, down from 570.3
  7. Page County 548.1, down from 627.6
  8. Russell County 545.4, down from 575.5
  9. Wise County 540.4, up from 486.9
  10. Dickenson County 509.9, up from 349.2
  11. Craig County 506.7, up from 214.4

The lowest rate in the state is Fairfax city, with a rate of 16.7 per 100,000.