ST. LOUIS — The St Louis Pandemic Task Force is urging caution, as the state looks toward reopening next week.
"Nobody has the perfect playbook on how to go about reopening," Incident commander Dr. Alex Garza said during the briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“We have to reopen the economy and we have to do it gradually and safely to avoid another crisis," Garza said. “If we relax social distancing too quickly, there will be a second wave.”
As of Tuesday, the task force reported 678 hospitalizations related to COVID-19. That's down 12 from Monday. The task force is also reporting there are 159 patients in area ICUs. That's up five from Monday. There are currently 113 patients on ventilators. That's up four from Monday.
There were also 50 patients discharged from area hospitals on Monday. A total of 1,167 patients that have been discharged since the first COVID-19 positive patient.
Garza reiterated that the diligence to social distancing has been highly effective in flattening the curve and that the hospitalization rate has been steady.
“As a region, we all sacrificed and were able to move off that worst-case trajectory," Garza said. “We aren’t headed downward yet but this plateau is encouraging.”
Garza and the task force stressed that testing, contact tracing and continued social distancing were the keys to a balanced and thoughtful approach in our region.
As for testing, Garza said that there is no doubt there have been more testing resources being implemented in the region.
From physicians to drive-thru options, to hospitals and even private businesses, there has been an increase in testing.
Garza said it does no good to test if contact tracing and quarantine are not also in place.
You can watch the Task Force's entire Tuesday briefing below.