New COVID variants could lead to new wave of cases; task force stresses masks

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ST. LOUIS– The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says hospitalizations are transmission are getting better in the area but the task force leaders says the new COVID variants are a concern.

Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, says with the new COVID variants circulating, it is entirely possible to have another serious wave of cases if we aren’t careful.

Dr. Garza says this is especially true since it is taking us longer than we’d like to get a majority of the population vaccinated.

He says if you look at the models, he says it looks like the area could have significant transmission if residents don’t use all of our mitigation strategies.

He says mask wearing, social distancing, and good hand washing are key to keeping the transmission low and people out of the hospitals.

Dr. Garza has been advocating for mask-wearing for months and today discussed how some are more effective than others.

He said you should chose a mask that covers your nose and mouth, fits snuggly against the side of your face, and includes multiple layers of fabric.

Dr. Garza says double masking does help. However, he said if you are going to do that wear a disposable one against your face. He says two disposable masks are not recommended. He said double masking with a N95 mask is also not recommended.

Here is the latest data from the task force hospitals:

  • New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 37 yesterday to 47 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) remained the same at 42 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations decreased – from 348 yesterday to 339 today.
  • Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 342 yesterday to 318 today.
  • Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 27 yesterday to 37 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs decreased – from 79 yesterday to 75 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators decreased – from 54 yesterday to 53 today.
  • The number of COVID deaths increased – from 5 yesterday to 7 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of COVID increased – from 6 yesterday to 7 today.
  • Across the system hospitals, 68 COVID-19 patients were discharged to home yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 18, 866.

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