St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says they saw improvement in coronavirus cases over the weekend

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ST. LOUIS – The 7-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations is still high according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force but there has been some improvement the past few days.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported new daily Covid-19 hospital admissions topped 50 over the weekend for the first time since May 2. That number dropped to 33 Monday but the 7-day average was still relatively high at 42. Garza said that is a concerning zone right now, but if hospitalizations continue to fall, the average will follow.

“It takes time and it takes effort to get those numbers to come down,” Garza said.

There were 242 hospitalizations on Sunday, but that number jumped to 290 on Monday. There are 72 COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU and 30 are on ventilators. The task force reported 179 suspected COVID-19 positive patients are hospitalized, 19 are in the ICU and 12 are on ventilators.

Dr. Alex Garza reported there have been 3,982 patients discharged from task force hospitals since the beginning of the pandemic, 20 of which were discharged Sunday.

Eight percent of task force ICU’s are being utilized for COVID-19 patients and hospitals total bed capacity is at about six percent. Garza said the goal is to keep those both under ten percent.

“You want to take action now because you don’t want to get to the point where you’re being overwhelmed,” Garza said.

Garza pointed out that the 63017 zip code in Chesterfield added 132 new coronavirus cases last week and the 63031 zip code in Florissant added 159 new coronavirus cases last week.

The Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Center on West Florissant in North St. Louis County has been offering free testing for about 4 months but only on Fridays.  

St. Louis County has just announced this center is getting $578,000 through the federal CARES Act to expand testing to three days per week, testing up to 300 more people per week in underserved parts of the county.   

The expanded testing here in North County should help track and contain the spread.     

“It’s a portable testing program,” said Dwayne Butler, the President & CEO of the Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health center.  “Before, we’d been testing every Friday (only), you had to come to the health center in a drive through capacity.  Now we have the ability to open up and test two (additional) days-a-week moving from location to location.” 

The expanded testing here would start by August 15th with enough funding now to continue through the end of the year, Butler said.    

Garza asks everyone to contribute to the number of coronavirus cases falling by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.

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