ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Hopes for a rapid procession to a “new normal” in our region following the COVID-19 pandemic are not in the cards, according to area medical professionals tasked with monitoring the virus. Dr. Alex Garza, commander of the St Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, spoke to the media today and painted a picture that requires a great deal of patience from the region in the following weeks and months. Answering questions about how quickly the region could reopen its businesses and communities, Dr. Garza said nothing can happen until we have the adequate testing resources in place to understand the amount of COVID-19 exposure in our region, and to be able to identify hot spots and acute spread when it happens in St. Louis and its suburbs.
Dr. Garza commended area governmental leadership today, specifically St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, for announcing plans to continue “stay at home” orders in their communities indefinitely. Both Krewson and Page announced today they will review their orders in mid-May at the earliest. Garza believes the two leaders made the right decision in holding off any urge to push towards a rapid reopening of the region. His comments come a day after the task force announced that new projections estimate our region will peak in its COVID-19 cases by April 25th and the region should have sufficient resources available to handle the peak.
“Public health officials in our area acted early. These orders continue to be necessary, and they are saving lives,” said Garza.
As of today, St Louis has 687 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds in the bi-state region. 179 of those patients are in ICU beds, and 155 patients are on ventilator care. 41 COVID-19 patients were released from hospital care yesterday, bringing the area today to 379 patients released since the task force began releasing those numbers.
Garza says we continue to be on the steep part of the curve that is rising toward the peak of cases, and social distancing and “stay at home” precautions continue to be imperative to stop the spread of the virus and protect the community.