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'No one is safe from COVID-19' | 1 week until St. Louis County eases restrictions

Restrictions that have been in place in the county due to the COVID-19 pandemic will ease on May 18

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — In one week, restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will ease in St. Louis County.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page held his first of three weekly briefings on Monday.

“No one is safe from COVID-19,” Page began his briefing.

He said he believes some businesses will still hesitate when it comes to reopening on May 18 as they try to manage the risk of COVID-19 in their place of businesses and how they decide how much business they will have as they actually reopen.

“I expect a great deal of people in St. Louis County to continue to work from home. In spite of the opportunity on May 18, many employers have told me that they are going to continue to work from home, people will continue to stay at home whenever possible,” Page said, “we’re going to have a gradual ease in our community as people start moving about more, start looking at our community and whether or not they feel safe to venture out.”

“We know that social distancing is important, staying at home whenever possible remains important,” Page said. 

After May 18, Page said the county will look at trends and testing on when it comes to advancing the reopening. He stressed the importance that the decision will be data driven.

Page reiterated that some populations are more vulnerable than others, including long term care facilities. There are 174 long term care facilities in the county and Page said the county has provided over 20,000 face masks to the facilities.

There will be a regional approach to long term care facilities – it includes St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The approach is led by the county’s director of St. Louis County’s Office of Emergency Management, Michele Ryan.

She said her team uses vetted medically qualified volunteers to contact care facilities on a regular basis and if a facility has at least one case – that contact is daily.

Testing supplies continue to be one of Page’s priorities.

“We are ordering another 100,000 tests and will know shortly when those tests will be available,” Page said. “As we perform more tests, we’re going to have more positive results,” Page said.

He also said the county is looking at new contact tracing software.

Two gyms in St. Louis County continue to operate despite the stay-at-home order. House of Pain, which has gyms in Maryland Heights and Chesterfield continue to operate, even though it received a cease and desist letter from the county.

“We’re going to let the court system work,” Page said regarding the gyms.  

He said the county will be consistent on how it handles violations of stay-at-home orders.  

“We have 30,000 businesses in St. Louis County, we will occasionally have those that don’t want to follow our advice and instructions,” Page said.

He believes most of the businesses want to know what the safe thing and what the right thing to do is. 

Page has been holding briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m. as the pandemic continues.

5 On Your Side will livestream the briefings on the 5 On Your Side app and KSDK.com.

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