ST. LOUIS- The head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task force said it has been a sobering week in St. Louis when it comes to the status of COVID-19 in the region.
Dr. Alex Garza said it seems the area has retreated from the progress it made in September. He cited the newest data showing an increase in COVID hospitalization at task force hospitals, and many of the hospitalizations are coming from rural communities outside St. Louis City and County.
Dr. Garza said the 7-day rolling average for new hospital admissions is above 40. The task force wants the number to be below that mark. Dr. Garza said this week the area saw hospitalizations rise into the 60s, something that has only happened 5 times since the beginning of the pandemic.
The rising data in St. Louis comes as Missouri reports record hospitalizations this week.
Dr. Garza said the rural health care system can be fragile. He said eventually COVID patients in those rural areas will start coming to the metro area and will put more stress on our health care system.
The counties with the most new COVID-19 admissions at St. Louis area task force hospitals are coming from Lincoln, Warren, St. Francois County, and Reynolds County.
Dr. Garza says the hospitals in the St. Louis area are also filling up with other medical and surgical patients, adding to the stress on the hospitals.
In Kansas City, the surge in COVID cases there is so severe that some hospitals were forced to refuse ambulances due to a lack of space.
He says the way to decrease the stress is to decrease COVID admissions. He says the best way to do that is to wear a mask.