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St. Louis pandemic task force says limiting spread now, wearing masks could lead to more Halloween fun

Dr. Garza said limiting the spread of the coronavirus now and following some simple guidelines on Halloween could lead to a more normal holiday for kids and adults

ST. LOUIS — The leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said there are ways to take part in some Halloween traditions safely, and it starts with limiting the spread of the virus in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

 "The best way to allow things like Halloween traditions to continue is to get our spread down to really minimal levels, and that's really up to the entire community" said Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force. "It's really simple, if there's less virus circulating, then there's less opportunity for others to get infected."

Dr. Garza said wearing facemasks, avoiding groups and devising ways to give out candy without being close to others will be key in celebrating without increasing spread.

Dr. Garza said masking and social distancing will help people return to other activities as well.

"It doesn't matter if you are attending class, or playing a sport or going to church or, yes, even trick-or-treating, we all need to follow some really simple rules that we have been preaching over and over again," he said.

On Monday, Dr. Garza said the St. Louis area was outperforming the rest of the state of Missouri when it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: Task force: St. Louis area 'outperforming' Missouri in limiting spread of COVID-19

On Monday, the seven-day average of new admissions was 31, its lowest point since July 15. The numbers have increased slightly in the last two days, but Dr. Garza said the numbers are still encouraging.

"The most likely reason our cases and admissions are continuing to fall are because of things that our community is doing to slow the spread," Dr. Garza said. "Things like wearing masks, staying away from large gatherings and staying a minimum of six feet away from each other."

Dr. Garza said continuing these practices will be key to returning to school and sports, but people should also take a cautious approach to those activities to avoid another spike in cases.

The numbers from the task force on Wednesday are as follows:

  • New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased from 32* yesterday to 33 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) remained the same at 32* today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations increased – from 262 yesterday to 264 today.
  • Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 273 yesterday to 278 today.
  • Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased - from 101 yesterday to 110 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs remained the same at 72 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators increased from 45 yesterday to 47 today.
  • Across the system hospitals, 33 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 6,017.

*Tuesday’s hospital admission data changed from 30 to 32 and did increase the seven-day moving average from 31 to 32. We apologize for any issues this may cause.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 116,946 COVID-19 cases and 1,947 deaths Wednesday, an increase of 1,580 cases and 83 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The increase of 83 newly reported deaths in the state is a single-day record, but the health department said not all of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours.

The previous record for new deaths reported in a single day was Sept. 9. On that day, the department said it discovered and corrected an error in the data and reported 72 deaths that occurred between June and August. Additional deaths were also reported the following day.

RELATED: Missouri health department adds 89 previously unreported COVID-19 deaths this weekend after correcting technical issues

The state reported 1,244,563 PCR tests as of Wednesday, an increase of 2,814 in the last 24 hours. The small increase came a day after the department reported a record 22,190 tests.

Credit: KSDK
Credit: KSDK
Credit: KSDK

On Wednesday, the department reported fewer than 1,000 hospitalizations in the state for the second consecutive day. Wednesday, the department reported 989 hospitalizations, up from 981 reported Tuesday. Hospitalization data from the Missouri DHSS is delayed 72 hours, so the number reported Wednesday represents the number of hospitalizations on Sept. 20.

Credit: MO DHSS


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