Special Report

These Are the Counties in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Slowest

After adding over 514,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 34.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 600,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a faster rate. In the past week, there were an average of 20.0 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 10.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC, metro area consists of the city of Virginia Beach, the city of Norfolk, the city of Chesapeake, and 16 other counties. In the past week, there were an average of 6.4 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Virginia Beach residents, less than the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 5.1 daily new cases per 100,000 Virginia Beach residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area, COVID-19 is growing the slowest in Franklin city. There were an average of 1.0 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Franklin city during the past week, the least of the 19 counties in Virginia Beach with available data.

Case growth in the Virginia Beach metro area varies widely at the county level. In Gloucester County, for example, there were an average of 11.0 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the most of any county in Virginia Beach and far more than the case growth rate in Franklin city.

While Franklin city has the slowest case growth in the Virginia Beach area, it does not have the lowest incidence of cases overall. As of July 29, there were a total of 14,029.7 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Franklin city, the 19th fewest of the 19 counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 10,550.2 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In Franklin city, unemployment peaked at 11.9% in July 2020. As of April 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 7.1%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the slowest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending July 29. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is not seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Virginia where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

Rank in MSA County Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending July 29 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending July 22 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
1 Franklin city 8,147 1.0 1.5 14,029.7 405.1
2 Camden County 10,551 1.2 0.0 6,625.0 56.9
3 Mathews County 8,788 1.4 2.3 6,907.1 159.3
4 Williamsburg city 14,927 2.5 4.8 5,212.0 93.8
5 Norfolk city 244,601 3.9 3.7 7,456.6 112.0
6 York County 67,982 5.1 5.6 5,697.1 86.8
7 Newport News city 179,673 5.4 5.5 8,096.9 133.6
8 Gates County 11,548 5.5 1.1 6,546.6 112.6
9 Portsmouth city 95,097 5.5 5.0 9,785.8 215.6
10 Currituck County 26,363 5.7 4.4 6,099.5 60.7
11 Isle of Wight County 36,627 5.9 6.9 8,802.2 191.1
12 James City County 74,916 5.9 2.8 6,335.1 96.1
13 Southampton County 17,880 6.4 2.6 11,208.1 318.8
14 Poquoson city 12,090 6.8 4.1 7,543.4 148.9
15 Chesapeake city 239,982 6.9 7.1 8,991.9 129.6
16 Virginia Beach city 450,201 7.5 5.4 8,215.9 93.3
17 Hampton city 135,041 7.6 4.3 8,070.9 136.3
18 Suffolk city 90,093 9.5 4.6 9,012.9 212.0
19 Gloucester County 37,222 11.0 7.0 6,259.7 137.0