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St. Louis coronavirus cases on the rise

That's a headline we haven't used since early November. Mayor Lyda Krewson says, "Any uptick worries us."

ST. LOUIS — After weeks of plateauing data points, St. Louis has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The St. Louis Department of Health reported Monday the seven-day rolling average increased from 20 on March 25 to 28 on April 28. The positivity rate also increased from 4% to 5.1% over the same period.

“We have enjoyed for the last two months a real downturn in the number of cases, and in the last couple of weeks it has plateaued," Mayor Lyda Krewson said during a Monday afternoon COVID-19 briefing. "Now, we’re beginning to see an uptick. That worries us."

The increase comes despite advances in vaccine rollout and increasing comfort returning to crowded spaces.

As Cardinals fans flock to Busch Stadium, everyone's fighting for their attention and their money. But one place that's not seeing as much profit as they'd like: nearby Wheelhouse, a bar restricted to 50% occupancy.

"I'm definitely addicted to watching every mayor's briefing, the news, what's happening," owner Stephen Savage said.

Savage has been vocal about his opposition to restaurant restrictions, recently testifying in Jefferson City in favor of legislation that would set limits on local government's ability to enact health restrictions during a pandemic. So when the county announced loosening restrictions — but the city held firm — he wasn't surprised.

"I hate to say it, but 'This is the new normal' is us being let down by the city and their response to supporting small local businesses and businesses in general," Savage said.

City health director Dr. Fredrick Echols says he's not comfortable with rolling back restrictions as case counts rise, an increase he suspects could be the result of spring break travel and Easter gatherings. 

He says he's encouraged to see widespread vaccine availability but cautions vaccinated patients can still spread disease.

"We are determined to make sure that we keep the community at the forefront of everything we do, and a part of that is also making sure that we communicate well with the community so that they understand why we are taking certain steps and in certain cases why we're not taking certain steps," Echols said.

As the fans continue to roll past Wheelhouse, Savage says he knows his crowds will be back when they're open at full capacity.