Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said the ups and downs in the different counties have led to a consistent epidemiology curve for the area
ST. LOUIS — COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area have been consistent for the last few months, a trend the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force said was due to the ebbs and flows of cases in the various counties that make up the area.
On Mondays, the task force provides county-by-county data that compares the number of new cases week-to-week. This Monday, the task force showed a decrease in cases in every Illinois county in the area while many of the area’s Missouri counties reported more cases than the previous week. It was almost the opposite of the data reported on Oct. 5.
The ZIP codes with the biggest increase in cases this week were:
- 63108: St. Louis
- 63135: Ferguson
- 63301: St. Charles
Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said the ups and downs in the different counties have led to a consistent epidemiology curve for the area as a whole. The epidemiology curve tracks the number of new cases in the area.
“We haven’t seen really sharp declines in this for at least a couple of months now,” Dr. Garza said Monday. “And really that’s a balancing factor between all the different areas that are contributing to cases within the metropolitan area.”
Hospitalizations and ICU numbers have also remained consistent over the past few weeks, and Dr. Garza said those numbers tend to mirror the trends for cases in the community. Dr. Garza said the hospitalization and ICU numbers are manageable, but the task force would like to seem them decrease a little.
One thing Dr. Garza said could lead to a consistent decrease in cases throughout the area would be consistent mitigation efforts regardless of county.
“In order to get our transmission significantly below one, models have showed us that it really requires a majority of the population to be doing all of those mitigation strategies, in particular with mask-wearing,” Dr. Garza said. “Unless we can get a significant amount, 80, 90% of people wearing masks consistently, then we’re gonna have a really tough time keeping the transmission of the virus suppressed.”
On Friday, Dr. Garza said hospitalizations in the St. Louis area were increasing along with the rest of the state of Missouri.
“And today we’re reporting one of our highest numbers of admissions that we’ve seen really since around the middle of August. Now we know this isn’t a local problem. Today, the state of Missouri also announced another near-record number of hospitalizations across the state. So this is very concerning,” Dr. Garza said.
The seven-day average of hospitalizations and new admissions both increased over the weekend.
The task force numbers from Monday are as follows:
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased from 40* yesterday to 27 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 39 yesterday to 40 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations increased – from 266 yesterday to 272 today.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 278 yesterday to 285 today.
- Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations decreased – from 115 yesterday to 86 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs increased – from 70 yesterday to 72 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators decreased – from 41 yesterday to 38 today.
- Across the system hospitals, 26 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 6,768.
*A delay in test results increased the number of admissions on Sunday from 38 to 40 but it did not affect the seven-day moving average. We apologize for any issues this may cause.
As of Monday at 3 p.m., the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ dashboard has not been updated since Saturday.
On Saturday, the department dashboard showed 5,066 new COVID-19 cases, which the department later said was due to a “data extract error”.
The department did not provide a reason on Saturday as to why the number of new cases was unusually high. The statement released Sunday said the error was initially raised Saturday morning, at which time the dashboard team began working to identify the problem.
“A database extract error on Oct. 10 resulted in an incorrect inflation of the number of reported cases going back over several days, suggesting that 5,020 cases had been added in 24 hours,” a release from the department said Sunday.
The numbers reported Saturday still appear on the dashboard although it is unclear if they are accurate. The release said the issues were limited to cumulative reporting on the dashboard.
The department said “members have examined the system issue and are working urgently to resolve it.”
“When this issue was initially raised Saturday morning, the dashboard team began working through the data to identify the problem and are working through the weekend to correct the underlying issue,” said DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams in the press release. “Missourians should feel confident that we appreciate their feedback and continue to adapt our processes to ensure effective and accountable reporting to our citizens.”
The department’s full statement can be read on the department’s Facebook page.