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ST. LOUIS – There’s been an alarming statewide spike in new Covid-19  cases in  Missouri.  Still, reopening continues to expand in the St. Louis area.

Though the spike is certainly cause for concern here it’s not what you may think.

The St. Louis region is not a big contributor to the jump, officials said on Monday. 

New modeling from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force shows the St. Louis region remains solidly on the downside of a flattening curve for Covid-19 cases here.  

Health officials agree the record spike in new Missouri cases, more than 800 over the weekend, maybe from increased testing in rural parts of the state and likely related to nearly 20% of close to 1,100 workers at a Tyson chicken plant in Arkansas testing positive.  The plant is less than 25 miles from the southwest Missouri state border.

Just 234 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized in the St. Louis region in the task force census released Monday.

That’s down from 430 a month ago and a high of 757 on April 20th.

Though the statewide spike may not be cause for alarm here, St. Louis Mayo, Lyda Krewson says we should not just ignore it.

“We are a little bit concerned that a lot of new cases in outstate Missouri a lot of those folks may become hospitalized here,” she said.  “It depends on where they are.  It depends on what the health care facilities are like in their area but that remains to be a concern,” said Lyda Krewson, the City of St. Louis Mayor.

“When you’re taking a look at that testing data you really have to dive into what’s causing this surge in cases,” said Dr. Alex Garza of the Task Force.  “Are we going to see a resulting increase in hospitalizations and all of these other things?  So, it’s important to keep an eye on that case count but it’s also just as important to understand what that number represents.”

St. Charles may be a good example of that.  Since the county “reopened” May 4th, well ahead of St. Louis City and County, there has been no spike.   St. Charles County has averaged about 7 new cases per day down from about 13 during the lockdown.