St. Louis region at a record number of COVID-19 hospital admissions


ST. LOUIS – St. Louis has set a record that should worry everyone – the most hospital admissions for COVID-19 cases for a single day. 

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reports that hospital admissions went from 56 on Tuesday to 72 on Wednesday. The average hospital capacities are rising and now stand at 85 percent. 

“It’s starting to get frustrating,” said Dr. Aamina Akhtar, the chief medical officer and infectious disease expert from Mercy Hospital South.

Frustration after seeing the latest numbers from the task force.

There are 390 local people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last week. The total of people suspected of having the novel coronavirus using area hospital beds is now at 513. That is the highest number of people in the hospital since May 13.

The task force believes the average of daily hospitalizations needs to be below 40. The region is now at an average of 56. That is the highest average the region has seen to date.

“We’re going to reach a point where there’s no place to put people and that’s what we want to prevent from happening,” Akhtar said.

Doctors project that the numbers will continue to climb. The 7-day average of hospitalizations is now at 371. It was at 272 just 17 days ago.

If you go to an area emergency room in the future and you have to spend the night, it could be in the emergency room and not a hospital room.

“There’s no open hospital beds, so they’re sitting in the ER waiting for availability,” Akhtar said. 

It’s difficult to decrease the number of people coming in for broken bones, heart attacks, and strokes but we can all play a part in reducing COVID cases and reducing the number of hospital rooms being used.

“The simple, easiest, quickest thing to avert this health care crisis is put a mask on; it’s that simple,” Akhtar said. “Until that vaccine comes out, the only game-changer at this time is putting on a mask.”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is made up of experts representing four major health systems in the region: BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health, and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The task force issued a plea to people on the front lines of the region’s fight against the coronavirus and from those who lost a loved one. They said if we don’t act now, things are looking bleak not too far down the road.

Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said that area hospitals are at or near capacity in taking care of COVID-19 patients.

“If we continue down the path we’re on right now, if we don’t start listening to science and wear masks and stop gathering in large crowds, things could potentially get much worse,” he said.

Garza usually talks pandemic numbers during the task force briefings. On Monday, he also spoke about the toll taken on doctors, nurses, and victims; he had to fight back tears at one point.

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