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As schools reopen, the COVID-19 situation is "very different" according to health director

A dirty used protective face mask is abandoned on the ground in the Tuileries garden, in Paris, France, Monday, March 14, 2022. France has lifted most COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, allowing people to remove face masks in almost all places and allowing those unvaccinated back into restaurants, sports arenas and other leisure venues. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Francois Mori
A dirty used protective face mask is abandoned on the ground.

COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke area have been at a relatively stable level over the past few weeks.

The director of the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District, Doctor Cynthia Morrow, said she’s cautiously optimistic that the region has seen a peak. The district reported 735 new cases over the past week, down from 930 the week before.The number of district residents hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19 also fell from 43 to 29 in the most recent week. Nine additional deaths were added, bringing the district's total to 1,039.

At a statewide level, the number of daily new cases has been trending down slightly since late July. Virginia is currently seeing about 2,600 new, confirmed cases each day. As of Tuesday, 786 people were hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

As schools reopen, many COVID-19 protocols have been relaxed. Morrow said the situation today is very different than it was in 2020 or 2021. "So we have a contagious, but less virulent circulating strain," Morrow told reporters Tuesday. "We have vaccinations available for anyone who wants to get vaccinated. We have a new vaccine available for people who might have been reluctant to get an MRNA or adenovirus vaccination. There’s a more traditional vaccine available now. And we have more therapeutics available."

Morrow recommends people stay up to date on immunizations and consider wearing a mask in high transmission areas. Most localities in the Far Southwest corner of the state, as well as the Roanoke, Lynchburg and Richmond areas are in the CDC’s high transmission category.

Check your community's transmission level here

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.