CLAYTON, Mo. – St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page is extending the stay-at-home-order indefinitely. He said he will reevaluate things in mid-May. Page believes that testing is key to re-opening the economy.
Friday the county is set to receive $175 million from the CARE Act to spend on COVID-19 related expenses. Page said he wants to spend a good portion of that money on testing. Hopefully more testing will give us a better idea of where the county stands against COVID-19.
Page said he has seen the protests and understands that people are anxious to re-open the economy, but he said we have to do it the right way because we don’t get a second chance.
“Until we have more testing to understand how deeply this virus has penetrated our community we cannot weaken the rules that by doing so would jeopardize public safety. That’s why I had no choice but to extend the county stay at home order that was set to expire today,” said Page.
Exactly what easing restrictions will eventually look like is still an ongoing conversation in the county. Page said he is talking with park officials about a partial reopening of parks. He may have a better idea of what that looks like later this week or early next week.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said on Tuesday that efforts to reopen the region too quickly could be catastrophic. During his daily briefing, St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Commander Dr. Alex Garza acknowledged the fear and frustration but cautioned against the inclination to move too fast.
“We are starting to plan and think about reopening”, said Dr. Garza. “A lot of people are working very hard on these issues of reopening. We must do this right. We don’t get a second chance to do this right.”
In his daily briefings, Dr. Garza has argued that as the region reaches its apex of COVID-19 cases and plateaus in the number of hospitalizations it sees, the planning to reopen our communities and economy must have a structured approach.