This is the County Executive Report I gave at the County Council meeting on April 28, 2020. You are welcome to attend County Council meetings, which are currently conducted by webinar; they are open to the public and feature time for public comment. You can find information on the next meeting and dial-in information in the events section at www.stlouisco.com.
Last night, I was honored to get to highlight the amazing work of our healthcare providers, who are on the front lines every day putting their lives in danger to save the lives of others.
The Rise up for Heroes program is an opportunity to stop for a few moments to celebrate the invaluable work going on at our regional hospitals. We have some of the best healthcare systems in the country and their response to this pandemic has been remarkable. Thank you to all our healthcare workers for all you do.
This morning, I was in Ferguson for the opening of a COVID-19 testing site. The drive-through facility, at 800 Chambers Road, will offer free testing from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. To make an appointment, call 735-0220. Thank you to the foundation of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis for working with the County to open this much-needed testing site.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to take its toll on our community, we know that those impacted the most are African Americans and those with chronic medical problems.
For too long, segments of our population have been left behind. We cannot let this be another one of those times.
As the council considers action today to allow spending of a CARES Act grant, my administration will ensure that the spending is done in an equitable fashion, with an emphasis placed on addressing the needs of vulnerable and underserved populations.
Spending of these federal funds will be invested in addressing the public health, humanitarian and economic crises facing the County today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. My administration has been working on several fronts to eliminate these inequities.
Our Department of Public Health is working with a newly formed Regional Response team led by Jason Purnell, a professor in the Brown School at Washington University and Director of Health Equity Works. The Response team includes more than 40 nonprofits, social service agencies and governments.
As well, our Health Department has fulltime outreach to our long-term healthcare centers and dialysis centers to link them to PPE and to testing. Our Human Services Department has obtained hotel space for
our unhoused residents and for those who cannot safely isolate from their families. And the department has converted the North County Recreation Center into a shelter for our homeless so that they can reduce their risk of exposure to the virus and be connected to treatment if they become ill.
We are in unprecedented times and we must move swiftly to address a virus that has taken the lives of 157 of our neighbors, co-workers and loved ones. Nearly 3,000 St. Louis County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Today, I announced that most of our County parks will reopen, with restrictions. This is our first test in re-opening our community. Our stay-at-home order remains in effect and will not be lifted until at least mid-May.
St. Louis County represents nearly 40 percent of the cases statewide and we need to see significant drops in cases and hospitalizations. As we dramatically increase our contact tracing, we will be able to get a better sense of the number of people who have been exposed.
Meanwhile, we will continue to aggressively purchase tests so we can get more people the care they need. Working together, we can help curb this virus, save lives, help our resident meet their basic needs and revive our economy.
Thank you, Lisa. That’s all I have for now.