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St. Louis area reaches coronavirus milestone

The patients were treated and released from the four hospital systems that make up the pandemic task force: BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis area reached a coronavirus milestone that’s worth celebrating and smiling about Friday.

More than 2,000 COVID-19 patients have been released from area hospitals to recover at home.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force released its latest data numbers Friday afternoon, and at the end of each daily update, the task force always includes the number of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals.

On Friday, that number reached 2,030 people.

Those patients were treated and released from the four hospital systems that make up the pandemic task force: BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital.

RELATED: Missouri reports more than 200 new COVID-19 cases for second time this week

The milestone came exactly four weeks after the St. Louis area reached the 1,000 mark, which happened on Friday, April 24.

“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. Alex Garza said while announcing the 1,000-patient milestone on April. He has expressed similar sentiment for the St. Louis area’s front line workers frequently in the weeks since then.

As for the other coronavirus-related numbers released Friday, the average number of patients in St. Louis area hospitals decreased from Thursday, while the average number of new admissions stayed the same.

Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force

The full breakdown of data trends from the task force is below.

  • New hospital admissions: 27, up from 20
  • Seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions: stayed the same at 27
  • Hospitalizations: 430, down from 448
  • Seven-day moving average of hospitalizations: 454, down from 459
  • Patients in the ICU: 102, up from 94
  • Patients on ventilators: 74, down from 75
Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force

Over the last 24 hours, 34 COVID-19 patients were released from task force hospitals, bringing the total to 2,030 coronavirus patients sent home from hospitals since the first case was reported in the area.

8 steps to stay healthy as cities reopen

Malls are reopening. Restaurants are welcoming diners inside. Churches are allowing the faithful to pray inside their places of worship.

Signs of what life was like before the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to make their way around St. Louis and St. Louis County.

But doctors say some of the changes we’ve made in our everyday lives need to stick around, possibly until a vaccine is approved.

“The virus hasn’t left. It hasn’t changed. It’s still here. It’s still very contagious and it’s still very dangerous,” Dr. Alex Garza said Monday. He’s the incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

For weeks now, Dr. Garza has stressed the importance of social distancing, frequently washing hands and cleaning surfaces. He said as economies and businesses reopen, it’s especially important to continue those practices that helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in the St. Louis area.

“We also know that we’re never going to be at zero transmission until there’s a vaccine. So, we have to learn how to live with the virus and take all those important steps to keep it in check,” Dr. Garza said.

READ MORE: Masks, distancing, no large gatherings: 8 steps to stay healthy as cities reopen

To help keep the coronavirus in check in the St. Louis area, Dr. Garza offered these eight steps to keep yourself, your loved ones and the entire community safe.

  1. Stay 6 feet apart from others – the exception being those you live with
  2. Wear a face mask in public
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  4. Clean surfaces regularly, including phones, counters, light switches – anything that’s touched frequently
  5. Monitor yourself for signs of illness, contact your doctor if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  6. Don’t gather with more than 10 people
  7. Stay at home if you’re vulnerable or at high risk of infection
  8. Don’t visit nursing homes or assisted-living facilities

“These are the steps we all need to make to keep the transmission rate low and to prevent the new surge in cases,” Dr. Garza said.