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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis County Executive Sam Page says the county is in the CDC’s red zone for widespread community transmission. He says that is due to rising COVID cases and an increased test positivity rate.

During a morning press briefing, Page explained the county reached 191 new COVID cases and a test positivity rate of 9%.

“Cases will continue to rise rapidly in the coming weeks,” said Page.

Page said the region is seeing vaccine hesitancy morph into vaccine hostility.

“I hate that we are where we are. A spot where we have a way out of this pandemic but not enough people are getting vaccinated to stop this latest wave,” said Page.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is pleading with people to wear masks in any public space where the vaccination status is not known.

Page says there is no announcement today about a mask mandate but St. Louis County and City officials are encouraging people to follow the task force’s recommendation.

He also said county and city health officials are having discussions about whether a mask mandate is the right thing to do. He says they are watching other jurisdictions that are in the red zone.

Page said it is not just about slowing the spread of the variant with masks but how fast they can get people vaccinated.

He was asked what is the alternative if people do not get vaccinated. He said there will continue to be a lot of sickness, a lot of hospitalizations, and a lot of loss of life until the Delta variant or the next variant is stopped.