Missouri COVID update: Hospitalizations have plateaued across the state, St. Louis region


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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Health officials in Missouri reported more than 3,100 COVID cases Monday and 10 additional deaths.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 368,316 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 3,130 positive cases—and 4,947 total deaths as of Monday, Dec. 21. That’s a case-fatality rate of 1.34 percent.

MonthMissouri COVID cases
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Please keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

For comparative purposes, Missouri’s COVID case-fatality rate was 1.28 percent on Nov. 30, 1.65 percent on Oct. 31, 1.68 percent on Sept. 30, was 1.81 percent on August 312.52 percent on July 30, and 4.71 percent at the end of June. In mid-May, the case-fatality rate was 5.5 percent. When COVID-19 was beginning to spread across the state in late March, the case-fatality rate was 1.33 percent.

The 10 days with the most reported cases have all occurred since Nov. 7.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 2,959; yesterday, it was 2,878. Exactly one month ago, the rolling average was 4,513.

Approximately 47 percent of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 48,272 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 31,412 cases.

Missouri has administered 3,482,832 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and 81.5 percent of those tests have come back negative. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 17.3 percent positivity rate as of Dec. 18. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

As of Dec. 18, Missouri is reporting 2,729 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 2,638. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 23 percent statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

Since Sept. 16, the rolling average for hospitalizations has been over 1,000. It’s been over 2,000 since Nov. 9.

Across the state, 653 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 22 percent.

Approximately 49.6 percent of all recorded deaths in the state are for patients 80 years of age and older.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Dec. 21, the CDC identified 17,790,376 cases of COVID-19 and 316,844 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.78 percent.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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