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SSM Health to bar visitors as St. Louis-area hospitals report record COVID-19 patients

SSM Health to bar visitors as St. Louis-area hospitals report record COVID-19 patients

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ST. LOUIS — St. Louis-area hospitals reported on Thursday that they are caring for a record number of COVID-19 patients. One hospital network, SSM Health, announced it would bar visitors beginning Friday.

There were a record-high 849 virus patients in BJC HealthCare, SSM Health, Mercy and St. Luke's Hospital facilities in the area, according the the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. There were also 150 patients with suspected COVID-19.

The seven-day average of new admissions hit a record high of 126. COVID-19 admissions here, on average, have doubled since the beginning of the month, and tripled since the beginning of October. The task force data lags two days.

In response to the increased spread of the virus, SSM Health announced that beginning Friday it will not allow visitors in its facilities. Exceptions will be made in end-of-life situations, or when a visitor is essential for a patient's well-being. There are also exceptions in obstetrics and pediatrics departments.

Illinois reported 14,612 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus on Thursday, and 168 more deaths.

Before mid-October, the state's seven-day average never exceeded 3,000. But in recent weeks it has surged, and Illinois is now regularly reporting more than 12,000 cases per day.

As of Wednesday night, there were a record 6,037 COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide in Illinois, 1,000 more than the highest levels seen in the spring.

Missouri reported 4,349 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and 30 more deaths.

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