COVID taking a turn for the worse in hard-hit minorities communities

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ST. LOUIS – Minority communities in the St. Louis region already hard hit by COVID-19 are seeing the situation take a turn for the worse. That’s the view from Affinia Healthcare leadership.

Dr. Kendra Holmes, Affinia’s senior vice president, said just months ago they observed a drop in COVID cases, spurred by a 3% positive test rate. But now the COVID test rate has shot up to 8% in minority communities in St. Louis City and 10% for their St. Louis County counterparts.

Holmes attributes the rise to the omicron variant but also to the public’s weariness with wearing masks and other mitigation measures.

One bright spot, according to Holmes, is they’ve secured funding for the infusion center that was going to shut down because the state had previously cut funding.

Missouri opened the five centers around the state—including one in north St Louis—for about $30 million to fund them for two months.

Those centers provided treatment to those who contracted COVID to help their bodies fight the virus. But they faced the possibility of shuttering.

Fortunately, the infusion center in north city has been spared because of money the St. Louis City Health Department recently discovered. The health department is giving Affinia $500,000, allowing them keep the infusion center open through the spring.

Holmes believes the COVID crisis may result in a situation like the flu, where people have to take a booster every year to bolster communal immunity. At present, she said there’s no end in sight.

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