St. Louis City is reporting high levels of COVID-19 transmission and in the community. The city’s Department of Health reported a 12.5 percent increase in new cases, pushing the city over the CDC’s guideline threshold into “red” territory. Due to this surge, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County health officials have renewed their calls for residents to mask up.
Issued this morning, the public health alert “strongly recommends” masks and taking further prevention steps. This includes wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public regardless of your vaccination status, staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines (including a booster shot if eligible) and getting tested if you have symptoms of the virus. High-risk individuals will have to follow additional precautions, the departments note, including wearing a mask that provides greater protection. Masks are also recommended in crowded places where social distancing isn’t possible.
The city is having daily case counts higher than the peak of the Delta surge, the city's health department says. They are also recognizing the fact that some people may be testing at home and not reporting their results, meaning that the “true extent of transmission is likely to be substantially higher than the number of known cases.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force hasn’t released a Facebook post reporting their data since May 24 (which reported hospital data from May 17 to May 24), but the health network alert from the Department of Health details that the task force has relayed a daily average admission rate of 39 new COVID-19 patients. The last post from the organization reported 18 daily admissions.
“This Health Alert Network message strongly recommending the wearing of face masks is strictly data-driven,” Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis says in a statement. “We can’t continue to let the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to climb and not do anything. We all need to do our part. We know that masks minimize the transmission of the virus and we can expect a decline in cases and a decline in hospitalizations if our community voluntarily masks up during this critical time.”
On June 1, St. Louis County reported a positivity rate of 18.5 percent and a 9.8 percent increase over a seven-day period in new cases. Residents can report their positive COVID-19 at-home tests online here to help the county track transmission and COVID-19 case rates.
So far, Schnucks has reinstated a mask mandate for its St. Louis area employees where transmission level is high and is encouraging customers to wear masks while shopping. The Arch is also requiring anyone who enters to mask up while in the building.