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Missouri hospitals see glimmer of hope in COVID-19 stats

Hospital officials are encouraged by current coronavirus numbers, but a possible surge looms in the weeks after the holidays
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
nurse holds a swab for the coronavirus / covid19 test

ST. LOUIS — Missouri hospitals are beginning to see a glimmer of hope as new cases of COVID-19 decline but the possibility of a post-holiday surge is keeping them on edge.

State health officials reported that the rolling seven-day average of cases was 1,816, down from a peak of 4,723 on Nov. 20.

Dr. Alex Garza, who leads the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, described the situation as “encouraging" in a media briefing Monday, although his enthusiasm was tempered.

“We have a lot of patients in the hospitals right now, so any bump-up that we have from a holiday surge could put us right back into those areas where we don’t want to be, where we are stretching our staff way too thin," he said, adding, “The fact is that COVID is not going to go away over the holidays. It won’t leave when 2020 leaves either."

RELATED: COVID-19 cases trending down in St. Louis area but still at dangerous levels, task force says

On Tuesday alone, the state added 2,479 more coronavirus cases and 117 more deaths, bringing Missouri’s totals since the pandemic began to 383,616 confirmed cases and 5,316 deaths. State health officials said that 97 of the deaths were added as the result of a review of death certificates, with 32 of them dating back to November.

The following data are the combined figures from the four major health systems (BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health, St. Luke’s Hospital) that are part of the task force, for December 29.

  • New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased from 98 yesterday to 110 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased – from 99 yesterday to 98 today*.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations decreased - from 842 yesterday to 838 today.
  • Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 865 yesterday to 856 today.
  • Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 86 yesterday to 87 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs decreased – from 173 yesterday to 172 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators increased – from 106 to 107 today.
  • The number of COVID deaths decreased – from 16 yesterday to 11 today.**
  • The seven-day moving average of COVID deaths decreased – from 19 yesterday to 18 today.
  • Across the system hospitals, 119 COVID-19 patients were discharged to home yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 14,322.
  • Today, staffed bed hospital capacity is at 82%, an average across our task force hospitals. The ICU’s are at 88% of their total staffed bed capacity.