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City expanding surge testing for COVID-19 in one of St. Louis’ hardest hit ZIP codes

"Right now, the 63116 ZIP code has the highest number of COVID cases and it's pretty alarming," said Dr. Frederick Echols

ST. LOUIS — "COVID-19 is really serious. We're seeing a resurgences of cases," said Dr. Frederick Echols, the Acting Director of the City of St. Louis Health Department.

Dr. Echols says for nearly two months the biggest resurgence of COVID-19 cases has happened in the 63116 ZIP code.

The south city area includes Tower Grove South, Dutchtown, Bevo Mill and Holly Hills neighborhoods.

"It's pretty alarming looking at the trends over time, so yes for the last six to eight weeks the 63116 ZIP code has had more newly reported cases in the city," Dr. Echols said.

Echols says as of Thursday there were more than eight thousand positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of St. Louis. 

More than 1,200 of those are in the 63116 area, that's the highest number of any of the city's 27 ZIP codes.

"We expected for there to be an increase in the fall and winter months. We just didn't know how severe the increase would be," added Dr. Echols.

Health and city officials say the rise in the COVID-19 cases in the one south side area is due to more people not wearing masks, practicing social distancing or washing their hands often.

"I know we're all tired of staying inside and social distancing, but we have to keep those precautions in place. To see those numbers in the 63116 ZIP code continue to go up is also very concerning," said 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green, whose one of the alderpersons representing the area.

Starting on election day, the city is expanding surge testing for COVID-19 at the Affinia Healthcare Clinic at 3930 South Broadway.

Anyone can get tested between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

City officials stress the testing will be done "professionally and confidentially."

Meantime, they're spreading a life-saving message and they hope people who live in the 63116 ZIP code are listening.

"COVID-19 is preventable if we adhere to simple, preventive measures that we talk about every, single day," said Dr. Frederick Echols.

"I am thankful that we are going to have a surge-testing site here to hopefully be able to get our numbers a little bit under control. We need people to step up and do their part because lives are at stake," said Alderwoman Megan Green.

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