CLAYTON, Mo. – New rollbacks and restrictions start Friday in St. Louis County to help stop the spread of COVID-19. They will reassess the restrictions in four weeks.
St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page wants to give parents the option of sending kids back to classrooms at some point this fall. He is recommending parents choose virtual class whenever possible.
The hope is that the new restrictions will help slow the spread of COVID-19. New cases are currently surging in St. Louis County. They will be able to tell if the measures that are enacted Friday are effective in four weeks because of the incubation period of the virus. Page says that he may have to put more restrictions in place if cases keep climbing.
“As these numbers continue to rise it is my impression that we are headed to all virtual school openings this fall. At least to begin with to get the numbers back down so we can get back to an option of in-classroom learning,” said Dr. Sam Page.
There were 523 additional COVID-19 cases Sunday. That’s the most ever reported in a single day, breaking the old record of 375 new cases that was set two days earlier on Friday. County officials had been gradually easing restrictions until recently.
“At this rate will will overwhelm our hospitals very soon if we don’t do something differently, said Page.
County Executive Page says that the virus is not spreading in the same way it did in April. St. Louis County is taking a different approach to enacting new restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.
7 New Guidelines:
- Only gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted. Any group that had its plan for an event pre-approved should expect to be contacted by the Department of Public Health to discuss their specific circumstances.
- Occupancy rules for all businesses will revert to where they were in June at 25% occupancy.
- The Department of Public Health is ordering that all bars close at 10 P.M. every night. The late night and early morning hours are times when social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding crowds are simply not being followed.
- The Department of Public Health will be finding new ways to make sure all businesses are following the rules — for the safety of their workers, workers’ families, and their customers.
- It is also recommended that all people who are awaiting their COVID test results quarantine until they receive the results. Right now, not all asymptomatic patients have been quarantining, but we now strongly recommend that they do so. It is recommended that employers work with employees to make quarantining possible.
- Action will also be taken this week to ensure that all health providers are getting their results reported in a timely manner. Due to delays, the Department of Public Health issued a Rapid Notification Order. But not all testing providers are complying, especially urgent care providers.
- The Director of Human Services has been asked to help provide a safe places for teachers who need to quarantine. Teachers, virtual or in-classroom, are always important, but in a few weeks, teachers will be the new front-line workers.
“All of the COVID metrics are moving at a concerning and unsustainable rate, including increasing cases, percent positives of testing, and hospital admissions. We must act now to avoid further spread, hospitalizations and deaths which typically follow rapid increases in cases”, writes Dr. Alex Garza, Incident Commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. “We must take these steps if we want to flatten the curve, get our kids back playing sports and in school full-time, as well as keep everyone safe and healthy.”
“This is a tragic natural disaster that has affected our community in a way that there is no path forward where people are not impacted in a negative way. We do our best to balance those impacts the best we can but it is very difficult. I feel bad for people who are negatively impacted by this. It is tragic. But, we also have to make decisions to protect the health and welfare for everyone in our community while trying to manage the impact on our businesses. That is by I believe a four-week partial rollback of our guidelines to where we were in mid-June will have less of an impact than a more significant shutdown in April. It will dramatically slow the spread of the virus in the community. So in mid-August we can have a smoother landing and can move forward in a much safer way. In a way that impacts our economy in a much less dramatic way,” said Page.
Page added that a regional or state-wide approach to restrictions would help slow the pace of the spread of the virus in St. Louis County.