ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page signed a new stay-at-home order for the county Wednesday morning.
The initial order was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 22.
There is not an end date on the new order, but Page said he will work with other officials to reevaluate around the time Missouri's stay-at-home is lifted, which is currently May 4.
“Until we have more testing to understand how deeply this virus has penetrated our community, we cannot weaken the rules – by doing so, would jeopardize public safety,” Page said.
Page said the virus is expected to crest in the region this week.
The crest will be followed by a plateau, which means the virus will continue its ‘strong hold’ in our community, Page said.
“Later this week, COVID-19 is expected to crest in our region, what that looks like exactly – we don’t know,” Page said, “But sadly it will translate into more positive tests and more deaths.”
Page said he understands that people are anxious to get back to the way it was and acknowledged that many people want to know - when will we get back to the way it was?
“I’d like to give a definitive answer, but I can’t,” Page said. "I'm following the lead of our health care professionals, our community leaders, our hospital systems and we're all keeping tabs on the number of admissions to hospitals, ICU admissions and the number of positive tests," he said.
Page said the reopening of the county will be "gradual."
"Once we are comfortable that the virus is under control, we can start to look at what reopening looks like," he said.
Page said he and other officials are watching the models very closely, along with feedback from public health officials.
“We will begin revisiting what an opening of government will look like over the next couple of weeks. We expect over this week that the hospitalizations, the ICU admissions will begin to peak – as that happens, we’ll be able to revisit what opening up the government will look like and what opening up the businesses in our community will look like,” he said.
On April 24, the county is expected to receive nearly $175 million from the CARES Act.
“We can buy more testing supplies, which is what we need to take care of sick people in our community and to come up with a pathway to open our businesses and commerce,” Page said.
He said the testing market is competitive.
“I would very much like to start this reopening in mid-May, and it’s not responsible to do that unless we have an active testing environment and we need to move quickly to purchase these tests,” Page said.
There will be an online portal where the public will be able to see where money from the CARES Act is going.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Page will hold briefings at 8:30 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
5 On Your Side will livestream the briefings on KSDK.com and the 5 On Your Side app.
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