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New CDC guidance keeps most of western Virginia in high COVID-19 category

A map of COVID-19 levels in Virginia released Friday, February 25th.
A map of COVID-19 levels in Virginia released Friday, February 25th.

U.S. officials say most Americans live in places where healthy people can safely take a break from wearing masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday outlined a new set of measures for communities where COVID-19 is easing its grip. They focus less on positive test results and more on what’s happening at hospitals.

More than 70% of the U.S. population lives in counties where the coronavirus is posing a low or medium threat to hospitals. Those are the people who can stop wearing masks for now. The agency is still advising that people, including schoolchildren, wear masks where the risk of COVID-19 is high.

Read more about the new guidance

The new recommendations don’t change the requirement to wear masks on public transportation.

Most communities in western Virginia remain in high category

Much of western Virginia is still in the high COVID-19 level, according to new guidance released Friday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control.

Only the Danville and Roanoke areas are in the medium category in that part of the state. The Richmond area, much of northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are in the medium or low categories.

Click here to find your community's level

Hospitalizations in southwest Virginia are dropping quickly. A coalition of hospitals that serve parts of the New River Valley as well as the Roanoke, Lynchburg, Danville and Martinsville areas reported 189 hospitalized COVID-19 patients Friday. That's the lowest number since mid-November.

Ballad Health, which operates hospitals in the southwest corner of Virginia and northeast Tennessee, reporte 268 COVID-19 patients Friday. That's Ballad's lowest number in many weeks.

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.
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