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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – 2022 is starting with COVID cases at a record level and he expects it to get worse. rates at their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.

Page said during a morning briefing that exhausted healthcare workers are seeing firsthand the continuing toll that COVID is taking on the community.

The seven-day rolling average of COVID cases as of Sunday in St. Louis County is 1,574. That is the highest level since the pandemic began. The latest data showed the COVID positivity rate in St. Louis County is at 15.5 percent. That is well into the high category.

Page said he supports a mask mandate that may once again be proposed at Tuesday night’s St. Louis County Council meeting. He says he urged the council chair to allow debate and a vote on the issue.

He said a mask mandate will result in less confusion, more compliance, and it will help keep our economy going and our schools open.

Page also warned that COVID could wind up shutting down the community again unless interventions are taken. He said getting more people vaccinated, wearing masks, and avoiding crowds are key components to those necessary interventions. Page says the shutdown or slowdown wouldn’t necessarily come from government-imposed restrictions but rather from the impact of the virus itself. 

“The virus is impacting businesses, restaurants, retailers ability to provide employees to open their businesses to take care of their customers. And we’re seeing restaurants now closing for days at a time or limiting their hours, we’re seeing retailers limiting their hours because they don’t have employees to take care of people who come in. And that’s not going to get any better as COVID spreads through our community,” explained Page. 

Page says he is also concerned about Governor Mike Parson’s decision last week to not renew the COVID-19 related state of emergency order for the state of Missouri. The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force also voiced their concern saying the expiration of the order takes away the ability to expand health care for more sick patients.