Throughout this pandemic, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health has been collecting data about COVID-19 cases based on internal COVID-19 case investigations. At this time, we would like to take this opportunity to spotlight the data that is publicly available on the dashboard located online here.
On the dashboard, you can view information such as new and cumulative cases of COVID-19, how many people have been tested, and how many have been released from isolation. You can also view recent cases mapped by zip code with school district boundaries overlaid. The dashboard has recently been updated with fuller explanations of the data presented to help people understand where the data comes from and how it is presented. All data is updated on a daily basis.
Two more detailed reports are also available on the dashboard, the In Depth Two Week Analysis and the Long Term Care Facility Report. These reports examine how the pandemic is evolving and further expand analysis for subsets of the population.
All of these metrics are used as the County makes policy decisions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community.
As discussed by Dr. Page this morning, DPH is proud to announce a dramatic expansion of partnership with SLU. Using $600,000 of CARES Act funding, DPH has contracted with the university’s College for Public Health and Social Justice to provide scientific, analytic and research support to strengthen our fight against COVID-19, capitalizing on their deep expertise in data sciences and public health practice.
Specifically, SLU will help improve the ability to track the transmission of COVID-19 in St. Louis County and represent the state of the virus with data. The university will work with our training staff to move our contact tracing curriculum online and provide additional booster trainings for up to 250 of our people in contact tracing and case investigation.
Multiple SLU faculty will add their expertise to our epidemiology, communications and geospatial work. It will help us research and plan for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. And it will allow us to use SLU’s COVID-19 app for symptom tracking and contact tracing.
As this pandemic continues, efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of our community – the residents of long-term care facilities, have been prioritized. This work has greatly reduced the spread among this high-risk population and resulted in recognition from both state and federal authorities.
As of today, St. Louis County is adopting the new state plan for long-term care facilities, which allows many of them to start socially distanced family visits. It is understood that loneliness and isolation can be critical problems for these residents, and visits from a family members can make a big difference.
Under the state guidelines, facilities that have not had any cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents, or those that have not had a facility-acquired case in the past 14 days, are able to allow indoor visits for residents who do not or are not suspected to have COVID-19 or who have been released from isolation.
Outdoor visits may occur in any facility for residents who do not or are not suspected to have COVID-19 or who have been released from isolation.
Under the guidelines, five visitors may be designated for each resident, with two allowed to be present at a given time by appointment and with social distancing being practiced. Proper hand hygiene and face coverings should be used.
At the same time, St. Louis County is still requiring all our long-term care facilities to quickly report every COVID-19 case among residents and staff, along with every hospitalization and every death tied to the disease. This reporting remains a crucial part of our ability to support these facilities and fight the spread of COVID.