As temperatures drop and the flu season ramps up, it's more important than ever to protect yourself from both the flu and the coronavirus. The flu and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms, so testing may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms including sore throat, cough, body aches, fever and shortness of breath are common to both viruses.
However, people with COVID-19 are more likely to lose their sense of taste or smell and may be sicker for a longer time than those with the flu.
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The Fauquier County School Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to start a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning in November.
Families can still choose a virtual-only plan for their children. Children participating in the hybrid setup would go back to the classroom for two days a week, starting Nov. 9.
Virginia Senate candidates took to the stage Wednesday night for a socially distanced debate about how to handle the pandemic. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, criticized opponent Daniel Gade, saying he had downplayed the coronavirus and failed to wear a mask or follow social distancing guidelines at campaign events.
"At the end of the day, the coronavirus is going to be with us for a long time, and what we can't do is give in to fear," Gade countered. "What we have to do though, is protect people who are vulnerable."
What the Data Shows
Seven-day moving averages of new cases are still decreasing in Maryland and Virginia. Over the past two weeks, the number fell from 581 to 469 in Maryland and 918 to 784 in Virginia. In D.C., the seven-day average is at 45.
Hospitalizations in the region remain at good levels. In D.C., only 4.5% of all people hospitalized are COVID-19 patients.
The positivity rate is 1.9% in D.C., 2.57% in Maryland and 5.3% in Virginia.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 residents.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- The Fairfax County School Board voted on Tuesday to start hybrid learning next month.
- The Loudoun County school board voted to begin a hybrid learning plan that prioritizes getting younger students back to in-person classes.
- The Smithsonian reopened four more museums to the public beginning on Friday, Sept. 18. Two more are set to reopen on Friday, Sept. 25.
- Five states were added Monday to D.C.'s list of "high-risk" states. Three other states were removed from the list.
- D.C. launched new coronavirus metrics and Mayor Muriel Bowser is set to announce the reopening of certain services in the next two weeks.
- Maryland increased its restaurants' indoor dining capacity from 50% to 75% on Monday.
- The “first reported COVID-19 death of a child in the Commonwealth” was reported Friday by the Virginia Department of Health.
- D.C. Public Schools in mid-September began considering plans that could bring students back to in-person classes by Nov. 9, 2020. The city is also starting to plan how it will administer a COVID-19 vaccine once one is proven effective and made available. Read more.
- The University of Maryland began transitioning to in-person lessons on Monday after the school reported a low campus positivity rate of 0.7%.
- Some D.C. Public Schools students could be back in the classroom as early as this month, the mayor said. Read more.
- Prince George's County will allow tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. It adjusted some other rules on Wednesday, too. Read more.
- Montgomery and Prince George's counties are among those that did not enter phase three with the state of Maryland. Here's a roundup of counties in our area.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he has authorized all public schools in the state to begin “safely” reopening because state metrics on the coronavirus show improvements. The state “strongly suggests” that local school districts bring students back into schools but cannot force them to do so, Hogan said. Montgomery and Prince George's schools have both affirmed that they are not altering plans to hold classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Private and parochial schools in Maryland can choose when to reopen after a back-and-forth between county health officials and the governor. Read more.
- Prince George's County revisited its phase two reopening executive order due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to the county executive's office.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening on July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam has said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- D.C. entered phase two on June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two on June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.