New COVID variants in St. Louis County cause of concern for health director

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ST. LOUIS– As vaccination efforts ramp up across the region, the St. Louis County Health Director says people still need to exercise caution as the UK and southern California COVID variants circulate the area.

Dr. Faisal Kahn, the St. Louis County Health Director, said roughly 25% of people in the county are vaccinated, meaning 75% are still vulnerable and at risk.

Kahn also said during a morning briefing that the region is seeing a slight uptick in COVID cases being diagnosed daily.

“We’ve also seen a drop in COVID testing numbers across the region. That is a cause of worry because it points to a sense of complacency around the presence of COVID in our midst,” said Kahn.

The UK and southern California variants were found due to testing from the University of Missouri sewer shed testing and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Kahn said 70% of all new infections being diagnosed in the United States are being attributed to those variants. The strains are said to carry a more aggressive infection and are more easily spreadable between people.

He is asking everyone to continue social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel, avoid crowded places, and continue washing your hands.

St. Louis County residents are also eligible to take part in the mass COVID vaccination events FEMA is running at the America’s Center. Register either on the state of Missouri’s vaccine navigator website or by calling 877-435-8411. 

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