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Missouri COVID-19 deaths top 4,000 and cases now exceed 300,000

Missouri COVID-19 deaths top 4,000 and cases now exceed 300,000

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ST. LOUIS — More than 4,000 people in Missouri have died from the coronavirus and more than 300,000 have been infected with the disease, officials reported Tuesday, as a St. Louis-area health system said it was expanding a program that monitors patients with COVID-19 at home to relieve pressure on hospitals.

NOTE: Missouri updated its data dashboard on Sept. 28 to delete duplicate cases. This resulted in a decrease of total cases which caused the daily count to reflect a negative number.

The state total released Tuesday includes 177 newly reported deaths, the second highest one-day toll during the pandemic, but state health officials noted the number reflects updated figures from prior months.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said comparisons between deaths and death certificates resulted in 25 previously unreported deaths being added to October’s tally and an additional 113 deaths added for November. There have been 60 deaths in the last week, an average of nine per day, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

In all, 4,006 Missouri residents have died and 302,691 have tested positive for the virus. The state ranks 15th in the country for new cases and 13th in new deaths.

Missouri had topped 1,000 deaths by mid June, exceeded 2,000 deaths by the second week of September and then reached 3,000 deaths by late October.

Illinois on Tuesday reported 12,542 new cases and 125 additional deaths. There were three deaths reported in Madison County — two men in their 70s and a woman in her 90s. Three deaths were reported in St. Clair County: two women, one in her 70s and one in her 80s, and a man in his 70s. One death, that of a man in his 90s, was reported in Monroe County.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said 5,835 people were in hospitals, with 1,195 in the intensive care unit and 721 on ventilators.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois is expecting tens of thousands of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, if the company’s request for emergency use authorization is approved as expected following a Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee meeting on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses and the initial batch would benefit 54,500 people and would go to health care workers first. Of the total, some 12,500 workers in Chicago would receive vaccinations.

Missouri officials are expecting enough doses to vaccinate 27,000 people.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported Tuesday that the seven-day moving average of confirmed COVID-19 patients in area hospitals broke records again, rising to 919 from 909. New admissions increased to 118 from 107, with the seven-day moving average increasing by two to 118. There were 1,061 patients in regional hospitals who either have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Across the St. Louis region there were 203 patients in ICUs, up one, and 123 on ventilators, which was unchanged. The average capacity of staffed hospital beds in the local health systems was 82% and ICUs were at 90% capacity.

Mercy health system on Monday said it’s expanding a program that has been monitoring patients at home after they have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Some patients in emergency rooms or in hospitals will now be referred to the program who might otherwise have been monitored in the hospital, Mercy spokeswoman Bethany Pope said.

They will receive supplemental oxygen and blood oxygen and other health measures will be monitored virtually.

“We have learned that not all patients who were admitted at the onset of COVID-19 need to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Carter Fenton, medical director of Mercy Virtual vAcute, in a statement announcing the expansion.

More than 38,000 patients have been referred to the program since spring, Pope said in an email, and the “vast majority” have been able to stay at home. The others are referred to different locations based on their needs, with less than half going to the hospital and others seeing their doctor or going to a respiratory care center.

Nearly 1,400 are currently being monitored at home, she said.

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