ST. LOUIS — One of the key metrics St. Louis area doctors are using to see how COVID-19 cases are trending in the area showed a slight decrease Tuesday.
The seven-day average of new patients being admitted to the hospital is gradually falling, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force explained this week.
On April 9, the average was 59 new COVID-19 patients per day admitted to St. Louis hospitals. Nearly a month later, the average has dropped to 42, which is a decrease of one since Monday.
Another promising sign released by the task force doctors is the seven-day average of the total number of COVID-19 patients in area hospitals. The average decreased slightly from 670 patients Monday to 669 patients Tuesday.
“This is the lowest this figure has been since April 17,” the task force wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.
As for single-day numbers, the task force released the following updates Tuesday:
- Patients in the hospital: 673, an increase of 20 from Monday
- Patients in intensive care units: 158, a decrease of six from Monday
- Patients on ventilators: 117, an increase of seven from Monday
Across the system hospitals, 41 COVID-19 patients were released, bringing the total to 1,463 people out of the hospital since the area’s first coronavirus patient nearly two months ago.
On Monday — the same day the state of Missouri lifted its stay-at-home order – the incident commander with the task force said keeping local stay-at-home orders in place is “really the right thing to do.”
Dr. Alex Garza thanked the St. Louis community for continuing to practice social distancing measures to help flatten the curve in the region.
“These evidence-based measures are really making an impact, and that’s critical now, and they’ll continue to be essential as we plan for the gradual and safe reopening of the economy in St. Louis,” Dr. Garza said.
While Missouri lifted its stay-at-home order, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County remain under order until further notice. St. Louis County alone accounts for 40% of the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases and about 50% of the state’s deaths.
“As everybody knows, St. Louis is certainly the hotbed of activity in our state, and so it’s important for us to maintain social distancing and other things for just a little bit longer because of our high rates,” Dr. Garza explained Monday. “It’s really the right thing to do for just a little bit longer until we can make sure we’re read to reopen our economy.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the city and county are working together on a timeline to reopen their economies and may be able to open by mid-May.
"Fingers crossed, by mid-May, if we can continue to see improved numbers," Krewson said during her update on Facebook on Monday afternoon.
She said an announcement could come this week. In the meantime, residents will have to adhere to the stay-at-home order a little while longer.
County Executive Sam Page said during a Monday briefing that he’s not ready to settle on a specific date to end the county’s stay-at-home order.
“Our goal is to have a timeline by mid-week with guidance for businesses, as well. It’s too early today to pick a date and start building around that date – we really need to see the reports from Dr. Garza over the weekend,” Page said.
The decision will be data-driven, Page said.