ST. LOUIS — Faced with a rising tide of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, St. Louis and St. Louis County leaders announced Friday that they will reinstate a mask requirement, for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents alike.
The number of COVID-19 patients in BJC hospitals has more than tripled in the past six weeks, Babcock said. Area hospitals are not yet stretched as thin as those in southwest Missouri, but staffing is tight, and there is not a lot of room to accept transfer patients. BJC has not begun to scale back elective care yet, but, Babcock said, “we’re discussing all the options.”
The task force on Friday reported 318 total hospitalized virus patients across area BJC, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital facilities — up from 93 on June 9.
“This is clearly another surge,” Babcock said.
Missouri reported 2,865 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and the seven-day average was at the same level as late January, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis. The state also reported 15 more deaths due to the virus.
Illinois reported 1,470 new cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average rose to 1,140, the highest level since late May, and the state reported seven more deaths due to the virus.
Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in an email Friday that the state is closely monitoring hospital resource availability but has not reinstituted a mask mandate.