ST. LOUIS – In what has become a common refrain in 2022, the omicron variant-fueled COVID surge in the St. Louis region has pushed hospitalization totals to new record highs today.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reports a new record in admissions with 227 patients admitted to area hospitals in the last 24 hours. That breaks the record mark of 213 set just two days ago.
It also marks a third consecutive day of admission totals surpassing 200 patients and has pushed area hospital systems to the brink of their ability to care for the heavy influx of patients. The region also has set a new record for children hospitalized with the virus.
In addition to the new admissions, the Task Force—comprised of the SSM, BJC, Mercy, and St. Luke’s Hospital systems—reports a new record of COVID hospitalizations with hospital workers now caring for 1,213 patients. Coupled with another 60 patients believed to be COVID-positive, the Friday combined hospitalization total now measures 1,273 patients—also a new high mark for the pandemic.
Another 16 deaths were reported by the Task Force since yesterday bringing the region’s death total in 2022 to 86 people who have succumbed to the virus as they sought care in St. Louis regional hospitals.
Task Force doctors said Wednesday that the omicron surge will push more patients into area emergency rooms in the coming weeks, bringing more pediatric patients with this wave of virus. That prediction held true today as the region recorded its highest single-day total of pediatric COVID patients with 64 children now hospitalized. That number breaks the previous high set just four days ago when 61 children were receiving care. Those 64 current pediatric patients are evenly split in age groups, with 32 children under the age of 11 receiving care and another 32 kids between the ages of 12-18 being treated. Of those 64 patients, 10 children are in ICU beds for critical care.
Adult patients are also flooding ICU beds as of today. The Task Force says 189 patients are currently getting critical care in ICU beds and 125 patients are requiring ventilators in order to breathe. The ICU number is slightly down from the day before, the ventilator census is slightly up.
Just before winter began, the St Louis region was experiencing acceptable numbers for COVID hospitalizations but has accelerated rapidly since November. Just two months ago, on November 7, 2021, the region reported only 223 patients hospitalized with COVID-positive test results. In those two months, that number of hospitalizations has grown by a whopping 990 patients.
Just a little over a month ago, on December 3, 2021, the region reported its first confirmed Omicron case. Health officials warned the public of omicron’s track record for rapid transmission of the virus. Since that first case in St. Louis, the region has seen hospitalizations increase from 421 patients to 1,213 patients and has watched the ICU census nearly boule, from 91 patients on December 3 to 189 today.