coronavirus

An average of nine Franklin County residents have been diagnosed with the coronavirus each day in July, with cases more than doubling from 205 on the last day of June to 414 July 24.

Twenty-eight new cases were reported this week, ranging in age from 2 to 84, in 11 separate cities throughout Franklin County.

Total virus recoveries also have increased from 154 at the end of June to 300 Friday.

Almost 100 of those recoveries have come just this week with 45 on Wednesday and 36 on Thursday, the highest recovery days since the pandemic began in March.

With the recoveries this week, active cases in the county have dropped from 157 on Monday to 96 Friday.

Of the active cases, eight are residents of long-term care facilities.

Despite reports of hospitals in other parts of the country, especially in the south, being overrun with coronavirus patients, Franklin County health officials said COVID-19-related hospitalizations at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan and Mercy Hospital Washington have remained low.

Eric Eoloff, Mercy Hospital Washington president, said Mercy has two patients with COVID-19 hospitalized in Washington.

“But, it’s also important to know we have had between zero and two patients with COVID-19 here on and off for many weeks, with all positive COVID-19 patients recovering and being discharged home or back to a nursing home,” Eoloff said. “We are seeing a concerning rise in cases in Franklin County since July 1. Our concern is that if we remain on this increasing trajectory of cases locally, we believe it’s only a matter of time until those shedding the virus affect residents who will become seriously sick and need to be hospitalized.”

Mercy has asked the city council in Washington to consider a masking ordinance to slow or lower the rate of spread in the community.

“We acknowledge there are hospitalizations for COVID-19 happening in the more immediate St. Louis County and St. Louis City area, and we continue to encourage residents here in Franklin County to wear masks when entering public places or when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible,”  Eoloff said.

St. Louis County still leads the state with 9,751 confirmed cases and St. Louis City has 3,575 cases to date.

St. Louis is one of 12 cities experiencing a concerning rise in coronavirus cases, according to White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.

Birx made the remarks in a private call to a group of state and local health officials Wednesday, the audio of which was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a journalism nonprofit.

“There are cities that are lagging behind and we have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Baltimore, so we’re tracking this very closely,” Birx said during the call. “We’re working with the state officials to make sure we’re responding together, but when you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts.”

Overall, cases across the state of Missouri have risen to 37,700 with 1,179 deaths.

The county death toll of 18 has stood for 45 days. The last reported death was June 9 when a 71-year-old male from Luebbering succumbed to complications from the virus.