The highest infection rates are in localities marked black or gray (which signifies how rural or non-rural locality is), the lowest in green. Courtesy of The Daily Yonder.

Covid infection rates are coming down in most places, and often coming down dramatically. Last week, five localities in Virginia recorded no cases at all — Fairfax city, Madison County, Prince William County, Rappahannock County and Salem, the latter being a geographical outlier to trends that generally show the lowest rates in and around Northern Virginia. That’s according to federal data analyzed by The Daily Yonder, a website that covers rural issues.

However, as has almost always been the case, the highest infection rates in the state are generally in Southwest Virginia — and those rates are also among the highest in the country. Last week, 16 localities were still in the highest infection category (shown as either black or gray on the Daily Yonder map, depending on how rural or non-rural a locality is). Of those, nine of the top 10 and 11 of the top 16 were in Southwest Virginia, with four others just east of the Blue Ridge. The only exception was the locality that turned up with the state’s infection rate — Manassas Park in Northern Virginia, and an obvious exception to the low rates generally found there.

Here are the localities that turn up in those highest infection bands — as measured on a cases per 100,000 basis for the week ending Feb. 26.

  1. Manassas Park 4,195.5, up from 1,470.4
  2. Botetourt County 1,008.4, up from 721.1
  3. Norton 828.9, down from 1,180.6
  4. Buchanan County 795.1, up from 523.7
  5. Smyth County 787.3, down from 940.1
  6. Grayson County 733.1, up from 585.2
  7. Galax 677.5, up from 519.9
  8. Dickenson County 656.5, down from 502.9
  9. Wise County 650.0, down from 773.1
  10. Lee County 593.4, down from 644.7
  11. Russell County 590.5, down from 598.1
  12. Lynchburg 525.8, up from 398.0
  13. Amherst County 525.2, up from 427.1
  14. Bristol 519.0, unchanged
  15. Campbell County 513.8, up from 358.9
  16. Martinsville 509.8, down from 852.3

This cluster of localities in the “black” or “gray” zone is unusual in a national context. Here’s the Daily Yonder’s national map, which shows the two biggest clusters of high-infection counties in central Appalachia, Maine and lightly-populated northern Alaska with smatterings elsewhere:

Infection rates by county. Courtesy of The Daily Yonder.

Here are the localities that turn up in the green zone, with rates less than 100 per 100,000.

  1. Fairfax (city) 0, down from 37.5; Madison County, 0, down from 241.3; Prince William County, 0, down from 116.5; Rappahannock County, 0, down from 81.4; Salem 0, down from 596.8.
  2. Winchester 3.6, down from 106.8
  3. Accomack County 49.5, up from 43.3
  4. Southampton County 51.0, down from 62.4
  5. Charles City County 57.4, down from 143.6
  6. Mathews County 67.9, down from 135.8
  7. Northampton County 76.9, down from 93.9
  8. Surry County 77.9, down from 93.4
  9. Orange County 83.7, down from 240.2
  10. Fairfax County 89.7, up from 88.9
  11. Fauquier County 99.7, down from 162.9

You can look up the rates for every locality in the country on The Daily Yonder’s interactive map.