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In the midst of a long decline, new coronavirus cases spike in Missouri, Illinois

In the midst of a long decline, new coronavirus cases spike in Missouri, Illinois

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Staff receive COVID-19 vaccinations at  SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Pharmacist Kyle Mays pulls the COVID-19 vaccine from a vial into a syringe before passing the syringe to nurses to vaccinate staff at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital in St. Louis on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. The hospital received 400 doses of the vaccine and have five days to administer it to their staff before it expires. They started vaccinating their staff at 1:30pm today and at around 3:30pm they had vaccinated approximately 120 people. Photo by Cheyenne Boone, cboone@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — The number of new coronavirus cases in Missouri and Illinois rose on Tuesday, but generally continued their long decline.

Missouri reported 2,479 new cases, up from 1,522 the day before. That pushed the seven-day average up slightly to 2,237, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis.

The state also reported 2,540 hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide, up from 2,429 the day before. Hospitalizations plateaued in November and haven’t fallen markedly since.

The state also reported 117 new deaths due to the virus, including 32 in November and 65 earlier this month. The seven-day average of virus deaths in Missouri fell to 39, the lowest since Dec. 2.

Illinois reported 5,644 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, up from 4,453 the day before. The seven-day average of new cases fell to 5,243, down from a peak of 12,722 on Nov. 12, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis, continuing the state’s downward trend in daily new cases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 106 more deaths due to the virus. The seven-day average was 109, down from a peak of 155 on Dec. 8.

And the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported 110 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the area, up from 98 the day before.

The task force reported a total of 856 virus patients across area BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital facilities — down from 865 the day before. Hospitalizations have declined slightly from a peak of 962 on Dec. 1, but are still higher than any level seen before November.

Local hospitals are operating at 82% of staffed bed capacity, and 88% of intensive care unit capacity. Task force data lags two days.

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