St. Louis health officials warn reopening economy too quickly could lead to surge of coronavirus cases

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis area health officials welcomed another week of local “stay-at-home” orders with a warning about reopening the economy too quickly.  They warned that any efforts to reopen the St Louis region without a structured, balanced plan could result in another surge of cases locally. 

Those leaders urged patience in the St Louis region as residents watch other Missouri counties began to reopen in the weeks ahead. 

Speaking with reporters today during the latest briefing by the St Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, Dr. Alex Garza acknowledged the plans to reopen Missouri by Governor Mike Parson.

Garza said the St Louis metropolitan area was not ready to move ahead just yet with reopening many of the businesses whose closures have stalled the local economy. 

He applauded the St Louis leadership for holding those “stay-at-home” orders in place and urged the government and medical communities to continue to work on a reopening plan for the region that included contact testing in the community. 

Garza called COVID-19 a “once in a century pandemic” and said the virus is a “wicked problem”. 

Locally, 690 patients remain hospitalized in St Louis for COVID-19 treatment.  That number is consistent with trends in recent weeks and doesn’t represent a sizable increase or decline over recent numbers. 

Additionally, Garza reported 152 patients remained in ICU beds and 109 patients were still on ventilators.  Another 15 patients were released from area hospitals yesterday bringing the total number of patients released to 1,117. 

Earlier today, St. Louis County executive Sam Page echoed Garza’s concerns about reopening the economy too quickly. Page did announce he would reopen some county parks and would release more information tomorrow. You can read what he said this morning with our continued coronavirus coverage.

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