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St. Louis back at high risk level for COVID-19 transmission

"We are definitely seeing a surge in new cases," said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, the director of health for the city of St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis is experiencing another surge in COVID-19 cases.

"You have to be careful. A lot of people have let their guard down, but the virus is still out there," St. Louis resident, Tawanda Tinsley said.

Tinsley said she and her family have not taken any chances with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

"I've been masked at the store, every time I go outside. I just never take my mask off," Tinsley said.

And now that COVID-19 cases are once again heading in the wrong direction in the city of St. Louis, Tinsley is keeping her mask even closer.

"Even though I had my first and second boosters, I still my mask on," she said.

"We're now in the high transmission and community level in the city of St. Louis," Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of health for the city of St. Louis, said during her virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday.

Credit: City of St. Louis

The city was previously at moderate COVID-19 transmission levels.

Right now, she says the number of new reported COVID-19 cases is as high as it was during last summer's delta variant surge.

"It's hard to get accurate numbers because people are not testing as much as they used to. Those numbers have plummeted," she added.

"We're also told hospitalizations across the region are on the rise," Hlatshwayo Davis said. 

Officials say hospitals with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force have admitted an average of 39 new patients with COVID-19 each day.

19-year-old Emma Bruegenhemke is a COVID-19 survivor.

"Pandemics just don't end within a year and here we are in 2022 and it's still out there, so no I'm not surprised to see the numbers up again," said Bruegenhemke.

The latest numbers show 78% of city residents have received at least one vaccine dose.

Nearly 63% of the population is fully vaccinated, and about 45% of those vaccinated individuals have received one booster.

"I've had my first vaccine, but I haven't received a booster yet. I'm just going to keep checking things by ear and obviously play it safe," said St. Louisan Dan Pisciotta.

The Centers for Disease Control is urging local officials to do more health screenings, put limits on some gatherings and recommend that people wear masks indoors.

"I need people to get boosted and to encourage family members and friends to get boosted. That's the key here," said Hlatshwayo Davis.

The health director also says COVID-related deaths in the city have dropped.

Still, she says, if the surge continues, she may soon ask St. Louis City officials to take action to keep the virus from further spreading.

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