Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Sept. 24

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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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.

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."

Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Daniel Gade debate how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

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How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth. 
  • Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on. 
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.
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