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St. Louis County sees highest single-day COVID case total since early January

The County Department of Public Health reported 1,003 new cases on Thursday morning.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Director of Communicable Disease Response Nebu Kolenchery reported the County's COVID-19 test positivity rate is now more than 11%.

"Over the last three months, for every 100 people that get COVID, at least 1 person dies," Kolenchery said.

Kolenchery breaks down the risks of catching the coronavirus variants into a really ugly math problem.

"With omicron, what you're looking at is something that's three to five times more transmissible, so let's say for every 100 people that got DELTA, about 400 people are going to get Omicron," Kolenchery said.

Even though new data from the United Kingdom show the Omicron variant is 'less severe', and fewer people may be hospitalized, Kolenchery says it still poses a harmful threat.

"Let's say it's half as severe as delta, what you're still seeing is two people are going to die, and so it could be less severe, but twice as fatal," Kolenchery said.

The County hasn't reported a number of specific Omicron cases, but with the current surge, Kolenchery believes it's already spreading in the region.

"Two days ago, we had 593 new cases reported. Yesterday, we had 774 new cases reported, and this morning, about an hour ago we have 1,003 new cases reported," Kolenchery said.

MORE: St. Louis County health department says area 'not as safe' as COVID cases increase

For Brian Lewis, COVID's impact goes beyond the number of cases.

"I personally know someone a cousin of mine that passed away from this virus, and I've had friends that have had loved ones that they've lost because of the virus," Lewis said.

He came to the County Department of Public Health to get his booster shot before visiting family.

"You can have it and not even know it, so at least we can say we've been fully vaccinated and we're trying to do our part to make sure that not only do we keep ourselves safe but we protect others at the same time," Lewis said.

RELATED: To grandmother's house or no? Omicron disrupts holiday plans

At this rate, Kolenchery predicts even higher numbers after the holidays.

"We do think that the cases will increase and increase pretty substantially," Kolenchery said.

The best options to keep yourself and others safe are to get vaccinated and get your booster shot if you haven't already.

Kolenchery emphasized how studies have shown that masking works. 

He urges people to mask indoors, social distance, and wash your hands often.

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