ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis area is "turning the tide" when it comes to COVID-19, but the region needs to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing to keep it going, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said Monday.
Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said promising trends in hospitalization and modeling data show the St. Louis area is starting to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but he also said it is important for the area to keep its collective guard up.
"As we've said before in our recent wave of cases, it's very important to not become complacent," Dr. Garza said. "These trends show us that we're starting to interrupt transmission of the virus in the community."
Dr. Garza said the decrease in transmission is likely related to masking policies put in place in St. Louis and St. Louis County about a month ago. Dr. Garza said there is still so much virus circulating in the area, that it will take a while to see significant drops, but he said differences in masking policies have kept the improvements from being more significant.
"Now, we're not seeing a huge drop, but we are starting to see it turn," Dr. Garza said. "One of the reasons is because you have to have universal masking across the metropolitan area to really see a big interruption in cases, and so with the policies differing depending on jurisdiction, you're always going to see sort of an ebb and flow of those cases."
Dr. Garza said the overall rate of transmission for the St. Louis area was .96, meaning the region is interrupting transmission in the community, but case numbers were not down everywhere. The three ZIP codes that saw the most significant week-over-week increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases were 63128, 63129 and 63010 in south St. Louis County.
Six counties saw increases in cases week-over-week: Jefferson and Warren counties in Missouri and Bond, Clinton, Jersey and Monroe counties in Illinois.
Here are the Monday numbers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force:
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 34 yesterday to 35 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) remained the same at 41 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations decreased - from 280 yesterday to 279 today.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations increased - from 279 yesterday to 281 today.
- Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 140 yesterday to 130 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs increased – from 69 yesterday to 74 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators decreased – from 44 yesterday to 41 today.
- Across the system hospitals, 25 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 4,269.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,027 new cases and no new deaths Monday, bringing the state's totals to 59,954 cases and 1,307 deaths.
The last time the state reported no new COVID-19 deaths in a single day was Aug. 2.
The department reported 6,338 new polymerase chain reaction — or PCR — tests Monday, bringing the total in the state to 769,918. On Monday, the state's positivity rate increased from 7.72% to 7.79%.
St. Louis County — which publishes its own COVID-19 update that often differs from the Missouri DHSS update — reported 156 new cases and four new deaths Monday, bringing the totals in the county to 14,941 cases and 671 deaths.
The county's average positivity rate over the last week is 8.7%, according to the county's dashboard, and has been trending down in August.