dr. Dunagan said the seven-day average of cases is higher than the peak reported earlier this year during the delta wave and is on a slope similar to 2020’s.
NS. LOUIS – The leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said the number of cases in the St. Louis area mirrored those beginning late last year, and that hospitals in the area are in a worse position to address a potential to handle golf.
“We have less buffer capacity than a year ago,” said Dr. Clay Dunagan in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Fewer people are available, fewer caregivers. Staffing issues continue to plague hospitals across the country, and St. Louis is no exception.”
The number of cases in the St. Louis area has increased significantly in recent days, and although Dr. Dunagan said this is partly due to a backup of tests over the Thanksgiving holiday, the task force has seen the number of hospital admissions steadily increase.
dr. Dunagan said the seven-day average of cases is higher than the peak reported earlier this year during the delta wave and is on a slope similar to the steep increases seen in October and November 2020, even though vaccines widely available.
The reproduction number calculated by the task force was 1.43, which is one of the highest ever reported by the task force. dr. Dunagan said this number is probably artificially high due to the holiday backlog of business, but the actual number is at least in the 1.2 range. He said even a reproduction number of 1.2 is still bad news for the region.
“The bottom line is I think we’re at least well above the 1.2 figure, meaning this would grow pretty quickly without interventions,” said Dr. Dunagan.
If those trends continue, said Dr. Dunagan that hospitals could start restricting elective health care procedures.
As of Tuesday, 91% of hospital beds were occupied in task force hospitals and 82% of ICU beds were occupied.
dr. Dunagan said the increase in cases is likely due to a number of factors, all of which help the virus to multiply more easily in the community.
“I think what we’re seeing over this period is clearly in part due to decreased masking and social distancing, as people have grown tired of these precautions,” said Dr. Dunagan. “In addition, colder weather drives people indoors, creating more contact between individuals in the population and more opportunities for spread.”
dr. Dunagan said it’s unclear whether the omicron variant is affecting the recent increase, but he said the need for preventive measures in the community and through the hospital system could increase if the new variant were to exacerbate existing problems.
“If omicron isn’t there yet, we already have a pretty significant increase, and the arrival of omicron will undoubtedly only accelerate the number of cases,” said Dr. Dunagan. “So I think we have to be prepared to take some pretty aggressive action if we want to contain the current spread.”
dr. Dunagan said dwindling immunity for people who got their vaccinations early probably also plays a role in the current increase. He said it emphasizes the importance of getting a booster dose of the vaccine for all age groups.
As of now, all people over the age of 18 are eligible for a booster if they are six months away from their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two months away from receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The data for December 6, 2021 is as follows:
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 40 Monday to 57 Tuesday.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) rose – from 54 Monday to 57 Tuesday.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions rose – from 408 Monday to 424 Tuesday.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospital admissions increased – from 459 Monday to 479 Tuesday.
- Inpatient suspected COVID-positive hospital admissions fell – from Monday 30th to Tuesday 27th.
- The number of confirmed COVID-positive patients in the ICU has risen – from Monday 90 to Tuesday 98.
- The number of confirmed COVID-positive patients on a ventilator has risen – from 56 Monday to 61 Tuesday.
- On Monday, 3 COVID deaths were reported.
- The seven-day moving average of COVID deaths has fallen – from Monday 6 to Tuesday 5.
- In the system hospitals, 60 patients were discharged on Monday, bringing the cumulative number of discharged COVID-19 patients to 31,093.
- Of the 454 COVID patients hospitalized in the three reporting Task Force hospital systems Tuesday — 103 have been fully vaccinated. That is 23% of the patient population.
- There are 6 COVID positive children aged 0-11 in the Task Force hospitals.
- There are 6 COVID-positive children aged 12-18 in the Task Force hospitals.
- There are 0 COVID-positive children aged 0-11 in the ICU.
- There is 1 COVID-positive child aged 12-18 in the ICU.
- Hospital capacity with staffed beds on Tuesday averages 91% in our task force hospitals. The ICs are at 82% of their total manned bed capacity.