Health official says St. Louis hospitals may run out of beds soon because of COVID admissions


BRIDGETON, Mo. – A troubling prediction from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force: local hospitals are on a path to run out of beds for COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.

SSM Health DePaul Hospital in Bridgeton is one of several hospitals in the region reporting COVID numbers to the task force.

On Monday, the task force reported an alarming number of positive COVID admissions; 81 today, 72 on Sunday, and 92 on Saturday. A task force official says hospitals are struggling and warns darker days may be ahead.

“I mean, at some point in time we’ll even run out of beds,” said Dr. Aamina Akhtar.

“We’re seeing a higher acuity of patients, so we’re making sure we have our ventilators on standby, all the appropriate PPE that we need, but really, I think based on the record numbers that we saw in Southwest Missouri, I think this time around what we’ll see clinically is going to be of greater clinical consequence to the community and to the health care systems.”

Screenshot from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Stanley Prince, 60, survived COVID thanks to treatment at DePaul Hospital. He returned to DePaul on Monday to thank the nurses for saving his life.

“I don’t know where to this day where I got the strength from,” Prince said.

Prince thought the cough he caught in early July was from the grass flying around as he worked at his lawn care business. But as his condition worsened with fever, Prince lost energy and he couldn’t get out of bed to answer the phone when a worried cousin kept calling. She finally came by his house in Velda City.

“She looked in the bedroom cause my blinds wasn’t up. I was in the bed and she thought I was dead and called 911,” he said.

Prince tested positive for COVID and was hospitalized for 11 days

“I was in the emergency room. I had just made it here because I didn’t have no air – none,” he said. “And so I was fighting for breath and that’s why I still have a soreness in my chest.”

Prince admits he did not get vaccinated. Like many in the Black community, he said he did not trust the government. But now, his message is about saving lives.

“I asked everybody wear your mask. If you can get the shot, get the shot,” he said.

Prince survived COVID but he’s still recovering from the virus. He said he’s still weak and gets out of breath even after a five-minute walk. His doctor said it may take up to nine months before he can get back to work at his lawn care business.

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