ST. LOUIS — In Monday's St. Louis Metro Pandemic Task Force briefing, Dr. Alex Garza, called the expansion of the re-opening efforts of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis "exciting". He attributed the progress to the precautions taken after the past few months.
On Monday, the city and county allowed for many more places to open. On Tuesday, Missouri will fully reopen.
Dr. Garza touted positive data to support that the region is moving in the right direction in its fight against COVID-19.
However, as more states continue to reopen their economies, many are also reporting an increase in cases.
Missouri is one of those states.
Dr. Garza said there could be a number of reasons why the state is seeing a spike, while the St. Louis region is on the decline. He noted that Kansas City is reporting an increase in cases. He said, since the pandemic started, St. Louis has reported a higher number of cases and hospitalizations, but he said it's possible that the virus is penetrating the area more than it has in past weeks.
Dr. Garza also said the spike in other areas could be attributed to increased testing across the state.
However, even on the state level, the positivity rate remains low. It's hovered around four percent for the last five weeks. The positivity rate compares the total number of cases to the total number of people tested. Epidemiologists say if they percentage is below 10 percent, that indicates an adequate amount of testing.
While local positivity rates can't be calculated because the total number of tests aren't made available at the local level, there are multiple other factors to gauge how the virus is impacting the region.
The seven-day moving average of new cases in the area, when looking at St. Louis-area data on both sides of the river, continues to trend down. The bars on the graph, representing each day, fluctuate which Garza said can be attributed to a number of factors, including a delay in data.
The seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions for COVID at area hospitals shows a similar downward trend. On Monday, the task force reported just 5 new admissions.