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Staffed hospital beds in St. Louis area at 80% capacity ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Intensive care units are also at 87% of their capacity

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis area staffed hospital beds are 80% full Sunday as the task force reports a record for seven-day moving average hospitalizations.

Intensive care units are also at 87% of their capacity.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force issued a warning Friday that -- although there may be room in the hospitals -- there may soon be a shortage of staff who are qualified to take care of patients who are sick with COVID-19 or other emergency health issues.

"Here's the problem, while the hospitals are almost full, the virus continues to spread like wildfire," Dr. Alex Garza, the head of the task force, said during a briefing Friday morning.

Health care leaders have begun to discuss what could happen if hospitals can no longer accept patients, including setting up a field hospital and administering "crisis standards of care."

"We'll have to make choices of who can't be helped," Garza said. "That's a dilemma no health care workers want to face. How can we make ethical decisions about caring for the most people with what we have?"

RELATED: 'We'll have to make choices of who can't be helped,' St. Louis pandemic task force warns

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Missouri reported a cumulative total of 271,527 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday and 3,559 deaths on its COVID-19 dashboard, an increase of 4,215 cases and four deaths from Saturday.

The statewide positivity rate was at 20.8% Sunday, down from Saturday's rate of 21.7%. 

Credit: KSDK

Illinois public health officials Sunday reported 10,012 new cases of COVID-19 and 76 additional deaths. The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported more than 10,000 confirmed and probable cases each day for four consecutive days. The last time it dipped below 10,000 was Wednesday when it was 8,922. 

Overall, Illinois has reported 656,298 coronavirus cases and 11,506 deaths since the start of the pandemic. More than 92,000 tests have been reported in the past 24 hours.

In the Metro East, the positivity rate was at 15.5% Sunday, down from 15.5% Saturday. 

Credit: KSDK

Local officials and the CDC have issued guidance about avoiding travel and large gatherings during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, urging people to celebrate the holiday with those in the same household.

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 Nov. 22.

  • New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased from 152* to 101 today.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased – from 136* to 134.
  • The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations increased – from 828 yesterday to 844 today, a new seven-day moving average record.
  • Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 859 yesterday to 830 today.
  • Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 121 yesterday to 131 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs decreased – from 168 yesterday to 165 today.
  • The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators decreased – from 93 yesterday to 88 today.
  • Across the system hospitals, 119 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 9,898.

RELATED: First COVID immunizations could arrive in the U.S. on Dec. 12

The Associated Press contributed to this report.