Here’s how quickly and thoroughly the omicron variant has swept over Virginia: Virtually every locality in the state is now in the highest infection categories, as measured by federal data analyzed by The Daily Yonder, a website that covers rural issues. That data covers the week ending Jan. 8.
Furthermore, while the omicron variant has hit almost everywhere hard, it’s hit hardest in metro areas. This is a reversal from the previous pattern, where rural areas — usually in Southwest Virginia — has the state’s highest COVID infection rates. Now the state’s 10 highest localities are all in eastern Virginia, with most of them being metro areas — Essex County on the Middle Peninsula would be the exception. The highest-ranking locality west of the Blue Ridge is now Galax, which comes in a “mere” 20th, although its infection rate is still 1,291.9 cases per 100,000, whereas previously the state’s highest localities were often in the 600 range.
The locality with the highest infection rate is now Alexandria, while Covington has the lowest. Here are the 10 highest localities:
- Alexandria 2088.1, up from 852.4
- Colonial Heights 1790.4, up from 1324.1
- Hopewell 1735.5, up from 967.6
- Portsmouth 1670.6, up from 958.7
- Winchester 1649.0, up from 683.8
- Hampton 1543.4, up from 845.3
- Virginia Beach 1537.4, up from 844.5
- Manassas Park 1521.2, up from 1277.8
- Stafford County 1512.3, up from 956.9
- Essex County 1506.4, up from 794.3
And here are the 10 lowest. Six of the 10 are west of the Blue Ridge.
- Covington 180.6, down from 216.7
- Rockbridge County 265.8, up from 181.6
- Williamsburg 274.2, down from 307.6
- Grayson County 385.9, up from 366.6
- Buckingham County 431.5, up from 186.8
- Rappahannock 447.8, down from 556.3
- Emporia 448.6, down from 636.0
- Buchanan County 466.6, up from 295.2
- Alleghany County 477.8, up from 349.9
- Lee County 491.0, up from 307.4
You can look up the data for every locality in the country on the Daily Yonder’s interactive map.