ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force gave a briefing Tuesday on the current fight against the coronavirus in the area, highlighting current numbers and the impact of COVID on children.
Washington University's Dr. Clay Dunagan said the large majority of people hospitalized with COVID in the St. Louis area are not vaccinated.
"About 80% of hospitalized patients have not been vaccinated. So 4 out of 5. The number is a little bit higher in the ICU's. There's no question that vaccination is the most important and most potent thing we can do to prevent people from being hospitalized," Dunagan said.
"Among those 20%, the 1 out of 5 who are vaccinated who wind up in the hospital, the majority of them have either an illness that puts them at risk or they're in older age groups that put them at risk."
NOTE: The data in the graphic above is mismatched. There are currently 419 currently hospitalized, with 82 being fully vaccinated. The pie graph accurately represents the percentages.
Dunagan said the St. Louis area is still under 50% vaccinated, well under the national average.
As far as the numbers go, Dunagan said Missouri is in somewhat of a "stable" state with levels that have "plateaued".
Here's a look at the most recent numbers shared by the task force on Tuesday:
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased – from 55 yesterday to 44 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased – from 69 yesterday to 66 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations decreased – from 499 yesterday to 486 today.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 470 yesterday to 453 today.
- Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 35 yesterday to 57 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID-positive patients in the ICUs increased – from 113 yesterday to 120 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators increased – from 80 yesterday to 83 today.
- The number of COVID deaths decreased – from 12 yesterday to 6 today.
- The seven-day moving average of COVID deaths remained the same at 9 today.
- Across the system hospitals, 87 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 27,427.
- Of the 419 hospitalized COVID patients in the three reporting Task Force hospitals today – 82 are fully vaccinated. That’s 20% of the patient population.
- There are 9 COVID-positive children who are 0-11 years of age in Task Force hospitals.
- There are 10 COVID-positive children who are 12-18 years of age in Task Force hospitals.
- There are 3 COVID-positive children who are 0-11 years of age and in the ICU.
- There are 3 COVID-positive children who are 12-18 years of age and in the ICU.
You can watch the task force's entire briefing by clicking here.
Dunagan also shed some light on why we've seen an increased number of children contracting COVID-19.
"That goes back to three things. First of all, the Delta Variant of COVID is much more contagious than its predecessors. Much easier to catch, We've seen it spread among kids much more readily than other variants. The second thing is to remember that anyone under the age of 12 can't be vaccinated. And even in the 12 to 19 age group we have much lower vaccination rates than we do in other parts of the population. So the virus is going to show up in groups that haven't been vaccinated much more readily than others. So we have a highly contagious virus and a large group of unvaccinated individuals," Dunagan said. "Number three, kids are back in school. Many schools have not take the same precautions to preventing spread. So in schools where masking is optional, or social distancing is not being readily enforced, that really puts kids in harm's way. So those three things together... A contagious virus, lack of vaccination and being in close contact with lots of other people, lots of other kids really explain why we're seeing so many children with COVID right now."
As of Tuesday, there were 19 COVID patients in the two pediatric hospitals in the region, with six in the ICU. There were nine cases in kids under the age of 12, who can't get vaccinated.
Dunagan went on to further elaborate on kids and COVID.
"Whether it causes a more severe illness in kids isn't completely clear, although I'd say the clinical impression is that the children we are seeing now are having a bit tougher time with the Delta Variant than predecessors. They are still, if they are otherwise healthy at pretty low risk for serious disease," Dunagan said.