ST. LOUIS — Missouri reported a record increase of new COVID-19 cases Thursday for the third day in a row.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,637 new cases Thursday, bringing the state's total to 37,700. Thursday's increase broke the record set one day ago when the state reported 1,301 cases.
The state also reported 20 new COVID-19 deaths, the highest number of single-day deaths in the state since June 18.
The health department reported 13,824 new polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests in the last 24 hours, bringing the state's total to 603,284. PCR tests are the swab tests that look for active infection in people.
The state's overall positivity rate increased Thursday from 6.12% on Wednesday to 6.25%.
St. Louis County reported a record number new cases for a second consecutive day Thursday with 320. It was the first time the county reported more than 300 cases in a single day. The county also reported seven new coronavirus deaths.
The county reported 3,066 new tests Thursday, and the county's positivity rate increased slightly from 6.90% on Wednesday to 6.98% on Thursday.
St. Charles County reported 69 new COVID-19 cases and one new death Thursday, bringing the county's totals to 2,762 cases and 85 deaths.
The county also updated its testing numbers, reporting 2,022 new tests since the county last reported testing numbers on July 20. Over that three-day timeframe, the county's positivity rate was 14.5%(294 confirmed cases in 2,022 new tests). The county's positivity rate increased from 4.98% on July 20 to 5.36% on Thursday.
St. Louis reported 98 new cases and no new deaths Thursday, bringing the city's total to 3636 cases and 164 deaths.
Jefferson County reported a record 82 new lab-confirmed cases Thursday, bringing the total to 1,008 cases. The number of COVID-19 deaths remained at 25 Thursday.
According to a press release from the Jefferson County Health Department, 40 of the new cases were from a mass testing event at a long-term care facility.
Other jurisdictions have not provided Thursday updates as of this writing. This story will be updated when the updates are published.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said hospital admissions in the area are climbing at a 'critical rate' that is unsustainable if the current trend continues.
RELATED: COVID-19 admissions in St. Louis area climbing at 'critical rate' as Missouri, St. Louis County report record case increases
Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said Wednesday the area hospitals admitted 40 or more new COVID-19 patients two of the last three days. He said it was the first time that has happened in nearly three months. The task force reported 40 new COVID-19 patients again on Thursday.
"This growth rate is just not sustainable," Dr. Garza said Wednesday, "and this will result in health care slowing down in our services that we offer, and restriction of visitors. We just can not handle increasing volumes of COVID patients and not have to take other actions."
As concerned as he is about the current data, Dr. Garza said he is more concerned about where the region is heading.
"As shocking as those numbers are, that's not nearly what I'm worried about, the numbers that we see today," he said. "I worried about the numbers that we're going to see tomorrow, next week and next month as we're gearing up for the beginning of the school year."
Here are Thursday's new task force numbers.
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased – from 45 yesterday to 40 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 37 yesterday to 38 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations is unchanged at 239 today.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations decreased - from 252 yesterday to 235 today.
- Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 175 yesterday to 115 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs decreased – from 56 yesterday to 51 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators increased – from 30 yesterday to 31 today.
- Across the system hospitals, 54 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 3,565.
Statewide hospitalization data has not been updated on the DHSS dashboard for more than a week. A note from the Missouri DHSS said the delay is due to a change in the way hospital data is reported nationwide.
Dr. Debroah Birx had a warning for St. Louis as well on Wednesday.
According to a report, Dr. Birx warned state and local leaders on a private phone call that 11 cities, including St. Louis needed to take "aggressive" steps to limit the virus' spread, a report said. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor both said they were not on the call.
According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, identified St. Louis along with Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans and Pittsburgh as cities needing to get outbreaks under control.