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7-day moving average of COVID-19 Hospitalizations down in St. Louis

The lag could be why numbers are slowly increasing, as cases from Thanksgiving start to show up at area hospitals.

ST. LOUIS — COVID-19 numbers, especially the number of people in the hospital, have been going down in the St. Louis area. But is it too soon to call it a trend?

Dr. Jason Newland an Infectious Disease Specialist with Washington University's School of Medicine thinks so, "I think it's too much of a stretch right now. I think we are starting to see a little bit of a bump over the last couple of days that are suggestive of what might be the Thanksgiving holiday gathering piece."

The numbers Dr. Newland is referring to are the day-to-day statistics. On Monday, the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force found that hospitalizations increased from 865 Sunday to 894 Monday.

Dr. Newland says current hospitalizations aren't directly correlated with positivity rates, because there is a delay between showing symptoms and needing professional care, "It seems that those who need to be hospitalized, don't need that until about 5-6 days into their illness."

The lag could be why numbers are slowly increasing, as cases from Thanksgiving start to show up at area hospitals.

For now, the 7-day moving average of hospitalizations in St. Louis is down, from 912 to 903. 

Home monitoring programs may be contributing to the decrease in hospitalizations in St. Louis. Dr. Newland believes increased participation in home health check-ins could be alleviating pressure on area hospitals. 

Patients with COVID-19 who doctors deem eligible for home monitoring take vitals at home using a pulse oximeter. The pulse oximeter measures oxygen in the patient's blood. If readings are within an acceptable threshold, the patients stay home and rest. If blood-oxygen levels dip too low, patients call their doctor for next steps.

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