Covid-19

Although the holiday season is over, the nation is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, specifically related to the omicron variant.

“We are now averaging 1,500 new cases a day,” County Executive Dr. Sam Page said in Monday’s virtual briefing.

Page talked about how the rising cases are affecting small businesses with an employee shortage due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.

“We’re seeing restaurants closing for days or limiting their hours because they don’t have employees to work due to COVID-19, and I do not see this getting better any time soon,” he said. “Some close intermittently because they don’t have employees to run the business, and we are seeing this all over the country.”

Page remarked on how case numbers are spiking higher now than when the pandemic first hit Missouri in March 2020.

“We have case rates and positive rates higher than they have ever been and hospital admissions higher than they have ever been,” he said. “COVID-19 will shut down our community or slow it down unless we do something about it.”

The County Public Health Department is in the process of appealing the Cole County’s legislation that has interrupted state-wide mask mandates. The County can issue public health orders with the Council’s approval, but there is an issue with a statewide ruling that opposes mask mandates.

“There is authority granted to the state, where the public health department can act independently through state authority, that authority of the County to act through state authority has been interrupted by the Cole County court ruling, and we’re appealing that,” Page said.

The County Public Health Department is also experiencing COVID-19 test shortages in a way you may not expect. 

“The County Public Health Department helps with testing for mostly uninsured populations,” Page said. “We’re very busy, we, like everyone else in town, are struggling to provide enough tests for this massive surge in our community …up until a week ago, we provided tests to walk-ins, but now they will require appointments like in the pharmacies, healthcare systems, and the doctor’s office.”

According to Page, the department has enough tests to service the community, but they don’t have enough people to perform the tests. He said this is an issue affecting healthcare providers across the city.

Other departments in the County have been affected by the increase in COVID-19 cases.

The St. Louis County Police Department has recently seen an influx of cases among its staff. In a statement released Tuesday, Dec. 28, they had 53 employees test positive for COVID 19, 26 of whom were not vaccinated. They are professional staff and police officers from all divisions throughout their department.

Covid-19

There have been a total of 343 positive test results since the global pandemic first directly impacted the personnel of the police department on March 28, 2020, according to a statement from the department. Of the 343 people, 321 have recovered and returned to duty, according to the statement.

Data released Thursday, Dec. 30, from the City Department of Health, shows the seven-day average positivity rate has climbed to 24%, which is the highest the City of St. Louis has seen since the department reported its first positive COVID-19 case on March 16, 2020.

Cases of COVID-19 in the city have more than doubled from the week starting December 14 to the week starting December 21 and are expected to continue climbing. 

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