ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis area hit a “really exciting and important” milestone Friday: more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients have now been released from St. Louis area hospitals.
“As of today, we have discharged 1,034 COVID-19 patients from our area hospitals to home,” said Dr. Alex Garza, incident command of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. “Now, that is really tremendous news and a direct reflection of the outstanding work and heroic commitment of thousands of healthcare workers in the region.”
Dr. Garza also thanked the community for helping hospitals and patients get to this point – and for saving lives.
“It’s also the result of our collective efforts of essential workers who have kept our community moving, small business owners who have sacrificed a great deal and elected officials who had to make some very tough decisions," he said.
The task force includes four of the St. Louis area’s major hospital systems: BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSMHealth and St. Luke’s Hospital.
You can watch the full daily briefing by clicking play in the Facebook post below.
As of 6:30 p.m. Friday, there are 4,672 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the greater St. Louis area, which includes suburbs and the Metro East that are also represented in the task force’s coverage area. In that same area, 214 people have lost their lives because of the virus.
According to models used by the task force hospitals, the St. Louis area is expected to hit its peak of COVID-19 patients on Saturday. That’s when the number of people in the hospital with the virus is expected to be at its highest.
“We’re in the middle of what our modeling shows to be the initial crest of our first wave of infections,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. “So, now is not the time to let our guard down against the virus.”
READ MORE: 'Now is not the time to let our guard down' | St. Louis coronavirus task force says we haven't seen the worst of COVID-19
Dr. Garza said hospitals in the area are prepared for the peak.
“We’re as prepared as we can be. We’ve gained a lot of experience going through this pandemic. We’ve taken all the precautions we can,” he said. “We have our supply of PPE, we’re still operating underneath crisis standards, but we’re still there. But I believe we’re as prepared as we can be.”
The task force’s latest models, which were released last week, showed about 71,000 people in the Bi-state area would be infected with the coronavirus by the end of April. Dr. Garza said out of that number upwards of 30% — or 21,300 people — might not even know they have the virus and many others will have mild symptoms and won’t get tested.
More task force coverage:
- When can we start to reopen Missouri? Not yet, St. Louis doctors say
- St. Louis coronavirus task force says peak is coming, warns of 2nd wave if restrictions loosened too soon
- 'Undeniably the right thing to do' | Doctors applaud decisions to extend stay-at-home orders
- Here's when COVID-19 could peak in the St. Louis area