What Happened This Week, June 14 Edition
We've heard from a lot of people that it's hard to keep track of what's happening from week to week. We thought you might feel that way, too, and that a recap might help. Here are some highlights:
- Dr. Sam holds live briefings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30am; those briefings are broadcast live on his County Executive facebook page, which you can access from this link: https://www.facebook.com/CountyExecutiveSamPage/. See past briefings at the Youtube channel HERE.
- Every Tuesday, the St. Louis County Council holds its meeting live by web/teleconference. During that meeting Dr. Sam gives his weekly County Executive Report. Read last week's report here: https://sampage.com/county-executive-report-for-june-9-2020/ This week's meeting is at 6:30pm on June 16. To join, dial call +1-408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 132 027 8592. If you'd like to join by computer, go to www.stlouisco.com and scroll to the "events" links at the bottom of the page, where you will find a link to join.
- This Tuesday the County Council Special Committee for Oversight of COVID-19 Funding and Expenditures will hold its meeting at 10:00am. To join by phone call +1-408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 132 081 7857. To join by computer,go to www.stlouisco.com and scroll to the "events" links at the bottom of the page, where you will find a link to join. The Committee provides special oversight over spending of the $173 million in federal CARES Act grant funding.
- Racism is a public health crisis. Dr. Page strongly supports the "8 Can't Wait" Campaign's policies that local police departments should implement to prevent officers from using excessive force. Dr. Sam signed President Obama's commitment to action, and all eight of those polices are already in place at the County Police Department. The Police Department also provides a public annual report on use of force, has implemented an early intervention system, and trains officers in de-escalation, bias, and racial profiling. On June 9, Dr. Page sent a letter to the St. Louis County Police Board asking them to conduct a thorough review of use of force policies and training, and where needed, to reform them. Dr. Page also asked that the report be made public. You can read his letter HERE.
- The County’s ability to purchase tests over the last several months with CARES Act grant money has significantly expanded testing capacity. Increased testing is vital to the County's containment strategy. As of last week, the County had tested over 54,000 St. Louis County residents for COVID-19; with the expanded testing, 1,200 new tests are being administered daily.
- Free testing to anyone with an appointment is now available at the St. Louis County Department of Public Health COVID-19 testing sites, John C. Murphy Clinic in Berkeley and the South County Clinic in Sunset Hills. Anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can sign up for an appointment to get a test at no cost. These sites can test 150 people per day and test results are available in 48hrs. Previous testing criteria have been removed, and the County is encouraging anyone who has frequent contact with individuals outside their household, particularly front-line workers and people with public-facing jobs, to make an appointment to get tested. The number to call for an appointment is 615-0574. Please note that this is specific to the Berkley and South County sites; other testing sites in the county may still have criteria for administering tests.
- Both the Berkley and South County locations of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health will start seeing patients on Monday, June 15th. Right now, availability and accessibility of health care is top of mind. The St. Louis County DPH provides primary care, dental care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, and other programs. For anyone without a doctor, or for anyone who has lost their health insurance during the pandemic, the County recommends you call 615-0560 to make an appointment. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health sees over 35,000 patients every year.
- Last week, Catholic Charities St. Louis distributed 200,000 masks from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, and the Jennings School District distributed 10,000 masks to families during their meal pickups. To date, hundreds of thousands of masks have been provided to communities in St. Louis County.
- St. Louis County has moved at a slower reopening pace than the rest of the state because one third of the state’s COVID-19 cases are in the St. Louis region. As the gradual reopening continues, Dr. Sam will be watching trends very closely, and making adjustments as the data requires. The ratio of positive to negative tests remains important, as do hospital admission and ventilator usage statistics.
- Specific reopening guidance has been provided for various industries, including hotels, business offices, restaurants, construction, transportation services, personal services, retail, daycare and summer camps. You can find all of those on www.STLCorona by clicking the green "reopening guidelines" button on the main page or by clicking HERE.
- Sporting events can resume Monday, June 15th. However, youth and adult events will have different guidelines and restrictions as outlined on STLCorona.com.
- St. Louis County Parks Recreation Complexes will reopen on Monday, June 15th. All visitors will have their temperature taken by a staff member before entering and must wear a mask inside. Full guidelines are available on STLCorona.com.
- The Job Center at Northwest Crossings is now reopened. Call 314-615-6010 to schedule an appointment for job search support, resume development and coaching, assistance for filing for unemployment, and training program enrollment.
- All businesses can begin to reopen on Monday, June 15th with 25% occupancy including casinos, fitness centers, pools, banquet halls and event spaces. Businesses will still need to follow the business guidelines posted on STLCorona.com. All patrons are encouraged to wear masks and social distance.
- On Monday, June 29th, capacity restrictions for all businesses will increase to 50%.
- On Monday, June 29th, gatherings and events will no longer be limited to 10 or fewer guests. In businesses, 50% of the occupancy permit will determine crowd sizes. Outside events will no longer have a gathering limit. Special events, such as art fairs and concerts, will need to have their plans approved by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and will be reviewed on an individual basis. Gatherings are still considered a health risk and proper precautions are necessary to keep attendees safe and healthy.
- St. Louis County CARES Humanitarian applications are due Wednesday, June 17th at 5PM. You can find more information about the program, including two previoulsy-recorded webinars, on STLCorona.com; read the RFP by clicking HERE. Applications are being accepted in the following impact areas: seniors and homebound programs, housing stabilization and homeless prevention, technology, and social and emotional wellness for children. Total funding available: $9.5M
- Applications are currently being accepted for grants awarded under the Child Care Relief Program, which will help child care providers continue to operate safely. Funding is available for business interruption expenses as well as costs of complying with public health guidelines; funding available is based upon the number of children served. Learn more and fill out an application at the www.STLCorona website HERE.
- The County had a 13% decrease in opioid deaths in 2019, down from 2018. This is the first year since 2012 that opioid deaths decreased in the County. However, the death of Black males from opioid overdoses increased by 47% in 2019. All other demographic groups saw a decrease in opioid deaths. This disparity highlights the need for a targeted health response. The St. Louis County DPH has launched the Anyone Can campaign to highlight how opioids can affect anyone in St. Louis. The campaign shares true stories about opioids impact on a diverse set of families and individuals. The campaign will be concentrated in North St. Louis. Visit www.AnyoneCanSTL.org for more information.
- Missouri is the only state in the country that does not have a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, but our St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has expanded. Dr. Page started that Monitoring Program as a St. Louis County Councilman. Because of our lack of statewide PDMP, other counties have joined the St. Louis County PDMP; our PDMP now covers 75 jurisdictions and 85% of the state's population. Learn more at https://pdmp-stlcogis.hub.arcgis.com
- Reminder that as we said last week, St. Louis County, community partners, and the Drug Enforcement Administration - St. Louis Division organized a community-based website for drug and substance abuse related resources. The www.WithYouSTL.com website brings together information about support facilities, treatment and recovery, substance use prevention, and free Naloxone distribution locations in the St. Louis Metro region.
- The St. Louis County Department of Public Health provides Narcan through the AnyoneCan initiative, which you can learn more about by clicking HERE. Naxalone (also known as Narcan) is available free of charge between 8am-4:30pm M-F at Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, North Central Community Health Center, 4000 Jennings Station Rd. St. Louis, MO 63121.
- To address these stressful and uncertain times, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the St. Louis Mental Health Board have collaborated to build a new resource making it easier to seek professional mental health help. By calling 2-1-1 and pressing 1, you reach a live behavioral health professional. Youth experiencing symptoms of mental illness can text “bheard” to 3-1-6-5-8 to connect with a youth helpline. The service is free, confidential, and available 24/7. You do not have to be experiencing a crisis to call.
- The St. Louis region has had a 20% increase in call volume for the existing behavioral help response line this year. In 2019, the system received a total of 1,400 calls for the year. In the first six months of 2020, the system received almost 3,500 calls.
- The STLCorona.com website has a COVID-19 information and resource page, which displays links to the published materials available to citizens overcoming COVID-19 related challenges. Here you can find resources ranging from COVID-19 Statistics to Internet Access to Educational Resources and Websites. Go HERE to learn more.
- A reminder that you can see CARES Act expenses for yourself in the transparency portal on www.STLCorona.com. You can view a breakdown of actual or committed spending by department or by vendor, look at individual expenditures, and even download a spreadsheet of the spending data. Access it by going to www.STLCorona.com and clicking on the green "COVID-19 Spending" button, or by clicking HERE.
- Dr. Sam notes the passing of activist Debra Bing Kennedy. May her memory be a blessing.
To say this is a challenging, fast-paced time is an understatement, but we hope updates like this will help you keep track of what's going on week-to-week.
Let us know if you have questions, concerns, or something you'd like us to focus on. We'll get through this together.
Dr. Sam's Team