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'It's not a cause for alarm': COVID cases on the rise in St. Louis area

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is reporting an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infections.

ST. LOUIS — Right now, COVID cases are rising across the country and here in St. Louis. 

The St. Louis Pandemic Task Force compiles data gathered from multiple area heath systems. 

"Today we did report 120 people admitted to the hospitals," Task Force Incident Commander Dr. Alex Garza told 5 On Your Side, "which we haven't seen for about two months."

The rise is noteworthy, but Dr. Garza said, "It's still not those dramatic spikes we saw in the earlier waves, but it's still something that I think we need to be aware of."

Monday morning, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page emphasized the same point in his briefing. 

"It's not a cause for alarm, but a reminder that COVID is still very much among us and there are ways to help us prevent catching it, spreading it and getting very sick from it," Page said.

Page and Dr. Garza reinforced these preventative measures:

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Wearing a mask in crowded or indoor public spaces
  • Social distancing 
  • Early testing  

Early testing is more important now than ever. There is a pill to treat COVID, but it is only effective when taken within five days from symptom onset. 

Dr. Garza said it's important for people not to chalk up symptoms to a seasonal cold or allergies. 

"People should still continue to test to make sure it isn't COVID, so you aren't unwittingly spreading it, but also because now that we have effective over-the-counter treatment that prevents serious illness," Garza said.

The medication is made by Pfizer and called, Paxlovid. The drug can only be prescribed by qualified medical providers. The current Health and Human Services database shows roughly 6,700 packages available in the greater St. Louis area.

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