Missouri health officials call for ‘aggressive actions’ as COVID-19 cases rise

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Missouri health officials are urging residents to take “aggressive action” after nearly a week in which daily COVID-19 cases hit four digits.

On Sunday, the state experienced its sixth consecutive day of more than 1,000 new cases, with 1,218. A four-day streak of record numbers of new cases peaked at 1,652 on Friday.

There are 41,927 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri and 1,197 deaths, according to the state’s health department. The seven-day moving average of positive tests is 8.8%.

“We are on the rise,” Dr Randall Williams, director of the state’s health department, said during the coronavirus briefing by Missouri Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday. Numbers over 1,000 likely represent community transmission, mostly among 20- and 30-year-olds, Williams said.

The average age of those who contract COVID-19 is steadily declining, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The average age of a COVID-19 patient in the state on Sunday is 43; the seven-day moving average is 40.

Daily hospitalization data on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated since July 12, although Williams said those numbers “also tend to increase.” The delay in reporting is due to a change in the way data is collected, after the White House shifted data collection from the CDC to a private company earlier this month. As a result, the Missouri Hospital Association said she had been left “in the dark” and unable to access state data.

Williams said he expected to have updated hospitalization figures this week.

A call to “hide”

Missouri began to reopen its economy on May 4, with the governor allowing the state to fully reopen as of June 16. There is no statewide mask warrant, although several local jurisdictions, including St. Louis County and Kansas City, Missouri, have issued their own orders because of the COVID- cases. 19 have started to increase in recent weeks.

The Missouri Hospital Association is also part of a coalition of eight state organizations urging residents to “hide” amid the increase, underscoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to wear cover-ups. cloth heads in public to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The stay-at-home order from Missouri has helped reduce transmission of the virus. However, with the opening of many areas of the state, Missouri’s transmission rates have increased, ”the association said in a statement. “Missourians can protect themselves, their families and community members by wearing a mask when in public and when in contact with people at risk. ”

In a grim letter to the public released Friday, several Kansas City area health officials, including two in Missouri, urged residents to take action to limit the spread of the disease amid recent data suggesting that they are “losing the battle against COVID. -19, ”the letter said.

“We are extremely concerned that hospitalizations will continue to escalate in the weeks and months to come, and that the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 will lead to increased ventilator use and deaths,” said the letter, which emphasized the wearing of masks indoors and when distancing is not possible. “It’s our best option right now to protect our friends, families, neighbors and the economy. ”

An oft-cited example of the value of wearing a mask occurred in Missouri: After two symptomatic hairdressers potentially exposed 140 clients to COVID-19 in May, the county health department determined that no new cases was not related to the Springfield show. Both hairdressers and all clients wore masks at the time, officials said.

Missouri COVID-19 Epicenter

The most affected county in Missouri is the most populous: St. Louis. As of Sunday, the county had about a quarter of the state’s COVID-19 cases, with 10,995, based on state data. In the first two weeks of July, the average number of new cases of COVID-19 more than doubled, according to a July 23 report from the St. Louis County Department of Health. Hospitalizations increased by 73% during this period, he noted. The overall test positivity rate has been increasing gradually since mid-June, the report says.

With a record number of new cases in recent days, county officials have warned they are considering reimposing restrictions. At a coronavirus briefing on Friday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the county would start “talking about restrictions” when daily hospital admissions hit 40. That number has soared there the last few days. On Sunday, the Saint-Louis metropolitan area pandemic task force reported new daily hospitalizations at 36, up from 40 on Thursday. The seven-day moving average for new hospitalizations was 40 on Sunday, continuing an upward trend in the county.

“We are in a difficult situation right now, and we need to take aggressive action as a community to turn the tide,” task force leader Dr Alex Garza said on Friday in a briefing on the issues. coronavirus. “We have a lot of transmission in our community. It is still led by our younger population. ”

Last week, the county announced it would suspend summer league competitions for youth, such as matches and scrums, due to the increase in cases among children aged 10 to 19.

“Although the risk of transmission during competitive sports for young people is very likely low, all activities surrounding games increase the likelihood of the virus spreading. This includes teams, coaches and parents who come together before, during and after games and practices, carpooling and other activities associated with participating in sports teams, especially if appropriate mitigation practices do not apply. are not in place, “said the St. Louis County Public Health Department, the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force and the City of St. Louis in a joint statement released Thursday. The guidelines only apply to summer sports, officials said.

Garza pointed to “decisive actions”, such as wearing masks, social distancing and not getting together in large groups, to help reduce the curve and reduce hospital admissions in the region.

At the confluence of concerns over COVID-19, a recent outbreak in the state has been linked to a large gathering of young people. The Jackson County Health Department said Friday it had traced five cases of the virus at a high school party on July 10 attended by 100 to 200 students.

The ministry recommends everyone who attended to get tested for the virus. Under current county guidelines, gatherings are limited to 100 people.

What to know about the coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Symptoms of the coronavirus
  • Tracking the spread in the United States and around the world: Coronavirus Map
  • Tune in to ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every day of the week for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the entire ABC News team, including the latest news, background and analysis.

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