County Executive Dr. Sam Page to Hold Media Briefing on COVID-19
St. Louis County’s long-term care facilities have reported more than 2,320 cases of COVID-19 and 494 lives lost since the pandemic began in March, according to data released by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health on Friday. The new DPH report shows 306 newly diagnosed cases and 33 lives lost to COVID-19 among LTC residents in August. In July, by comparison, 256 new cases and 33 deaths were reported. As distressing as those numbers are, the report shows that the vast majority of cases and deaths occurred early in the pandemic, before safety protocols were fully implemented. In April, for example, the county saw 813 cases and 147 deaths. In May, 681 new cases were reported, with 212 deaths.
“While the recent numbers remain far below the levels we saw in the spring, St. Louis County will continue to partner with facilities in protecting this vulnerable segment of our population,” Spring Schmidt, acting director of the Department of Public Health, said.
The report adds some cases from previous months that had not been included in the DPH’s July report. The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services changed its database of cases at the beginning of August, which caused a delay in reporting some cases. At no time did the change affect patient care. In all, 216 cases were added to the totals from March through July. The report shows that the fatality rate of LTC residents who contracted COVID-19 is 21.3 percent. These LTC cases account for 12 percent of St. Louis County’s COVID-19 cases and 66 percent of the County’s COVID-19 deaths.
The report describes the impact of COVID-19 on residents of the 144 LTCs in St. Louis County licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Section for Long-Term Care Regulation, as well as additional private facilities in the county that have reported data to the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. Types of facilities include Skilled Nursing Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, and Residential Care Facilities.
DPH works with facilities to ensure aggressive mitigation measures are in place, assist in stocking personal protective equipment, and ensure testing is readily available. This vital work is done in coordination with the State Section for Long Term Care Regulations, which licenses these facilities, the Saint Louis County High Risk Task Force and the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management. The existence of cases in facilities should not be interpreted as an indictment of the care residents receive — close quarters and the age/chronic health conditions of many residents have made long-term care facilities vulnerable to outbreaks. The report can be found online here.
Safety Plan Submissions
Under Department of Public Health (DHP) Public Health Order, anyone planning a public entertainment event-including fall festivals, concerts, drive-in movies, Octoberfest celebrations and Halloween gatherings - must first submit a health safety plan to DPH outlining how they will meet all requirements of the Public Health Orders. Plans should be submitted a minimum of 30 days in advance of the event, and events cannot occur unless an approval has been granted by the department. Submitting a safety plan is not a waiver or variance from the health orders or guidelines. Every plan must comply with all applicable restrictions including gatherings and capacity limitations. These plans are meant to provide for proper social distancing, cleaning and other safety measures to protect the public. For more information, please visit www.stlcorona.com. To submit a plan for review, email [email protected].