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Officials report decline in new COVID-19 cases among nursing homes and overall

Officials report decline in new COVID-19 cases among nursing homes and overall

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Lincoln County holds mass vaccination clinic

Cars line up in rows to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination event at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Troy, Mo., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Workers moved from row to row administering the vaccine to the occupants of each car. After receiving their dose the line would wait 15 minutes under supervision to make sure no severe side-effects set in before being released. The event was one of nine mass vaccination clinics being held in Missouri on Friday. There were 2000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination being distributed to healthcare workers, first responders and citizens age 65 and older. (Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com)

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis County officials said Wednesday that cases and deaths were dropping among residents of long-term care facilities, a group that was among the first to be vaccinated. 

The most recent count showed the lowest number of deaths among those residents since fall.  

Last month, 410 residents of long-term care facility residents were diagnosed with COVID-19, and 40 died, a county health department spokeswoman said in an email.

In December, 963 residents were infected and 178 died. There were 1,100 infections reported in November.

Overall, 6.4% of all infections in St. Louis County and 54.5% of all deaths have occurred among long-term care residents.

Meanwhile, Missouri reported that a total of 427,152 people have received a first dose of vaccine, or 7% of the state's population, up from 409,618 the day before. And of those, 125,943 have received a second dose.

The seven-day average of new cases continued to fall — to 1,255, the lowest level since Aug. 31, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis. Missouri reported 1,233 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 890 the day before. 

The state also reported 10 more deaths due to the virus.

Illinois reported 3,314 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 2,304 the day before. But the seven-day average of new cases fell to 3,150, the lowest level since mid-October, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis.

Illinois officials announced that the state will redirect 97,000 vaccine doses to retail pharmacy locations. Those doses originally were allocated to the federal program to vaccinate long-term care facility residents and staff.  There will still be 110,000 doses left for that program. The original allocation was based on the total number of beds in long-term care facilities, and the assumption that all residents and staff would want to be vaccinated.

More than 15,000 doses have been administered In Madison County, officials there said Wednesday, but there are roughly 50,000 people eligible to receive it. The county will be opening up scheduling online and by phone Thursday.

Vaccination events were being held in Jefferson County Wednesday and Thursday, but all slots were filled by those who pre-registered. 

On Wednesday, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported 68 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the area, up from 51 the day before.

The task force reported a total of 462 virus patients across area BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke's Hospital facilities — down from a peak of 962 on Dec. 1. Task force data lags two days.

Hospitals here are operating at 82% of bed capacity, and 84% of intensive care unit bed capacity, based on staffing.

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