ST. LOUIS – There is still confusion over whether a mask mandate continues to exist in St. Louis County. That after no final rulings were made this morning by the Judge overseeing the controversial St. Louis County mask mandate court case.
Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo held about a half-hour hearing with lawyers for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and attorneys for St. Louis County.
A key issue in the hearing was the impact of a ruling last week by Cole County Judge Daniel Green that bars local governing bodies from imposing COVID-19 health orders like mask mandates.
We’re told the ruling does not officially go into effect until later in December.
An attorney for St. Louis County, Neal Perryman, said county officials are still working through the ruling.
Perryman conceded that county officials took the masking order off the county website following the ruling by Judge Green and that the St. Louis County masking order could now be moot.
But Perryman would not go so far as to say that a mask mandate no longer exists in St. Louis County.
An attorney for Missouri Attorney General’s office, Jeff Johnson, argued it’s not enough that the order was taken down from the website because St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said just yesterday that the mask mandate was still in effect in St. Louis County.
A spokesperson for AG Schmitt says Schmitt wants a preliminary injunction officially ending the second St. Louis County mask mandate announced by County Executive Dr. Sam Page back in September.
Officials with the AG’s office have filed a lawsuit contending the mandate is illegal under state law.
Judge Ribaudo set another meeting for December 9th so that attorneys on both sides could meet and try to work out the various issues that are still outstanding.
Meanwhile, the latest COVID numbers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force show local cases rising again.
The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions is at 48. The Task Force wants that number below 40.
The total number of COVID patients hospitalized is nearly 400. Earlier this month there were just above 250. 82 confirmed COVID patients are now in ICUs.
Less than three weeks ago that number was 53. And there are now 52 confirmed COVID patients on ventilators. Two weeks ago there were just 32.
Tragically 10 more people died from COVID in the latest numbers.
That has pushed our region into double-digit COVID deaths in a single day for the first time in more than two months.
The Pandemic Task Force is expected to address the latest COVID developments later today.
The mask mandate controversy is also on the agenda for tonight’s St. Louis County Council meeting.