ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Masks are recommended for people indoors and for high-risk populations, according to the City of St. Louis Health Department. COVID-19 transmission rates are high, but the level of the virus in the community is in the medium range.

This could be an issue as many people celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year. It isn’t clear what will happen to the viral transmission rates as people return to school and work.

The number of COVID-19 patients in area hospital beds is 6.9% with 17.6 hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents. This matches reporting from St. Louis County. They say that 90% of ICU and inpatient beds are in use.

The number of COVID-19 cases appears to be rising in the area. The bump up in the numbers is concerning, but it is far less than where the St. Louis area was last year.

There were around 3,000 St. Louis area COVID-19 cases reported on December 30, 2021. One year later, there are only around 160 cases. It also is not clear if reporting cases has declined. Although, the number of cases increased dramatically in the beginning of 2022.

Every U.S. household is eligible to receive four free at-home test kits. They can be ordered online at https://covid.gov/tests or by calling 1-800-232-0233.