ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The average of new daily cases in St. Louis County is 17.3 cases per 100,000 per day, up 111% over two weeks, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.
The increase in cases has not yet meant an increase in COVID hospitalizations, said Dr. Farrin Manian, chair of the department of medicine at Mercy St. Louis. The hospital is part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.
“We are seeing a relatively stable number of patients, but I think we need to be a bit cautious in that there’s usually a lag in the number of cases in the community and the number of hospitalizations,” Manian said. “We’re kind of cautiously optimistic that we aren’t going to see a huge surge, but we are just going to have to wait and see.”
He said the cases the region is seeing recently are nowhere near the winter surge the region saw in January. However, he said the number of new cases has risen sharply and it’s important to stay vigilant.
The positivity rate in the county has nearly tripled in a month from 5.7% to 14.9%.
Dr. Manian said there may be a few reasons for the recent spike. People aren’t masking as much, there are more pre-pandemic-like gatherings, immunity to the virus is growing weaker, variants are more contagious, and Manian said many people are just tired of the restrictions.
The increase in cases is also reflected in the increase in positivity rates at Total Access Urgent Care. Across all of its locations, the medical staff is seeing a 19.8% positivity rate. In March, that rate was at around 3%.
Doctors said the number of COVID tests may not be reflective of the actual COVID count because many people are using at-home COVID tests and not reporting their positive tests.
New COVID data is expected to be released from the St. Louis Metro Pandemic Task Force on Tuesday. Doctors continue to urge people to get the COVID vaccine and boosters as the best protection against the virus.