ST. LOUIS – The local medical community says they are dealing with a shocking number of new hospital admissions. St. Louis area hospitals are seeing the most COVID patients since February.
It comes as cases are on the rise in the area and the CDC says St. Louis County is now in the “red zone” with the widespread transmission of COVID.
Today, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is reporting there are 300 confirmed COVID-positive patients in area hospitals. It is the first time that number has been hit since February 25.
The task force says 66 infected individuals were hospitalized Tuesday. That is the largest number of single-day admissions since 70 people were admitted on Feb. 4.
There are also more COVID patients hospitalized today than a year ago and that is before vaccinations were available.
The task force is also reporting staffed bed capacity is at 92%.
Hospital officials report ERs are slammed with COVID patients but the COVID floors have not yet been overwhelmed. However, they say with these numbers they expect COVID healthcare workers to become overwhelmed in the next week.
St. Louis County is now averaging 191 new COVID cases per day with about 9% of tests coming back positive for the virus. It is nearing the red zone for covid cases, meaning there is a substantial rate of transmission. The rapid spread of the Delta variant of the virus is driving the numbers.
“This is not a Chicken Little situation, folks. The circumstances are dire and we cannot let complacency or misinformation be barriers to the preventable,” St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said.
Page painted a grave picture when asked what is the alternative if people do not get vaccinated.
“We’ll continue to see a lot of sicknesses, a lot of hospitalizations, and a lot of loss of life until the Delta variant is stopped or the next variant is stopped,” he said.
The county executive says there is a way out of the pandemic but not enough people are getting vaccinated fast enough to stop the latest wave.
“Now we’re seeing vaccine hesitancy morph into vaccine hostility and more and more young people are becoming hospitalized because of his Delta variant,” Page said.
Page is making an urgent plea for residents to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors or outdoors whether they are vaccinated or not. The city and county are currently talking about reinstating a mask mandate.
“Our (departments) are working together very closely and they’re in conversations now about whether a mask mandate is the right thing to do for St. Louis County and St. Louis City,” he said.
Meanwhile, Page says Black children from between the ages of 12 to 15 in St. Louis County are not getting vaccinated as the same rate as white kids of the same age. Data from St. Louis University shows 47% of white teens have started the vaccination process while only 16% of Black children have done the same.
North St. Louis County zip codes have the highest COVID case count. Page says the county will be putting more resources as possible into those neighborhoods to get the vaccination rates up.