With COVID-19 cases reaching new case levels, St. Louisans are worried about what they can do to protect themselves from the new Omicron variant, which, according to the CDC, is more transmissible than previous strains.
When asked if St. Louis City would limit attendance at sporting events in indoor facilities, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones responded by saying, “I don’t think we’re there yet.”
“I’ve been in conversation with health director Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, and I don’t think we’re there yet. We are still monitoring the situation,” she said.
Mayor Jones visited CareSTL Health, a federally qualified health center (FQHC), and thanked health care workers for their tireless effort to keep St. Louis families healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hear time and time again that our healthcare workers are exhausted and are tired of bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “They’ve supported us over the past few years, and we can support them too by taking common sense steps to protect each other from COVID-19.
According to Jones, the City’s positive rate is higher than when St. Louis documented its first COVID-19 March 16, 2020. It currently sits at 32%.
“Hospital resources are being stretched beyond belief,” Jones said.
The St. Louis Pandemic Task Force reports 1,023 hospitalizations across our region are due to the virus, including 61 children.
“These stats are heart-breaking, and we need to stay vigilant in protecting ourselves and our loved ones against the virus,” she said. “We know that full vaccination is the key to reducing the strain on our healthcare systems.”
The St. Louis County Council passed a public health order Tuesday to require vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to wear masks in public indoor spaces. The order took effect Wednesday morning.
“I was glad to see that just last night, the County Council is following the guidance of our public health experts by implementing masks in St. Louis County,” she said. “This virus is real, and it’s a real threat. I’ve lost friends and loved ones to this virus, so I know firsthand the toll that this virus can take on families.”
In addition to this, Mayor Jones joined CareSTL Health CEO Angela Clabon to speak about the regional rise in case numbers, ways St. Louis residents can protect themselves from the virus.
The virus is definitely taking a toll on healthcare workers,” Clabon said.
Clabon said last Thursday, CareSTL Health Centers were closed because they were having a breakout at the center.
“All of our employees are 100% vaccinated, and two-thirds of our employees have had the booster, but even with that, our employees are still being infected with the new omicron virus,” she said.
Clabon talked about how CareSTL has lost employees to COVID-19.
“During our first wave of COVID-19, we lost one of our employees to the virus, and several staff members were hospitalized,” she said.
Additionally, Clabon talked about her personal struggle with the virus.
“I am fully vaccinated and have my booster shot, but over the holiday, I caught COVID along with my mom,” she said. “Both me and my mom had very mild symptoms, so the vaccinations work.”
Last week, Clabon said the federally qualified health centers ran out of COVID-19 tests, but they were still able to administer vaccines to the community.
“Right now, we still have our clinics going, and we have people who make sure everyone who comes in gets tested or vaccinated,” she said.
According to Clabon, the federal government shipped 2,000 COVID-19 tests to CareSTL Health, so they can administer tests to the community.