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Government, Politics & Issues

Live Updates: Coronavirus In The St. Louis Region

CareSTL Health's COVID-19 testing site in north St. Louis will reopen on April 27.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

 Noon Thursday, June 4

As we said in our note Tuesday, we are suspending the blog to focus our newsroom’s resources on other important stories in our region. Many readers wrote to us asking where or how they can keep up with data about how quickly the coronavirus is spreading in our region.

Consider this a parting gift that will keep on giving: St. Louis Public Radio has built a dashboard that will update daily with information about how many new coronavirus cases and deaths we have in our bi-state region. 

Read more about how it works and how shortcomings with the available data limit our understanding of how the virus is spreading: Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard: Are Coronavirus Cases Decreasing? 

Are Coronavirus Cases Decreasing?

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— Brian Heffernan

12 p.m. Tuesday, June 2

Good afternoon. 

All good things end. And while the coronavirus pandemic is hardly a good thing, we hope you have found this blog helped you understand the disease and the region’s reaction to it.

However, we have decided that it’s time to suspend the blog. The virus is still out there, it is still spreading, and some people are, unfortunately, still dying of COVID-19. But the barrage of new information has slowed significantly in recent weeks. Add to that the growing civil unrest and protests of police violence against African Americans, and we realized that we need to reallocate our resources.

We will still have stories about the coronavirus’ impact on our region’s health and economy. We will still provide perspective and context. But those stories won’t be found in a single blog; rather, that information will be in individual stories that are part of the regular website. 

Please keep checking back to the St. Louis Public Radio website for those stories, as well as for coverage of the protests and any other news that happens in our region.

Thank you for being a loyal reader.

— Shula Neuman, executive editor

4:30 p.m. Monday, June 1

The wait is over for the opening dates for those St. Louis County businesses that are still closed. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the plan this morning. Bars in the county can open on June 8, and every other entity that is closed can open June 15. That includes movie theatres, arcades, bowling alleys, museums, casinos, conference venues, pools and sporting events, Page said. 

The county will release guidelines online for how those businesses should reopen later today or tomorrow.

Page said the $173 million the county will receive from the federal government will go to families and parts of the community that need it most, but did not provide specifics of how the money will get there.

Page also addressed the protests this weekend in Clayton and Ferguson against police killings of African Americans. He said he supports protesters’ right to organize right now but stressed the coronavirus spread is an acute risk of mass gatherings. 

“Anyone who participates in these large crowds who is not wearing masks, who’s not social distancing, should stay away from others and recognize they are at risk for contracting COVID-19.” he said. “This is still very present in our community.”

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson had similar warnings for city residents during her briefing today.

People who attended protests this weekend should isolate themselves from others as a precaution, Krewson said. She stressed the coronavirus is still in the community and these protests pose a big risk of transmission.

The city has an adequate number of tests both for people with and without COVID-19 symptoms, Krewson said. She urged residents to seek tests if they start to feel ill. Krewson said the city would supply masks to some protesters in the region to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in and around communities that have already been hit hard by the virus.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday that he is cutting an additional $209 million in planned spending by the end of June because of the coronavirus.

Parson has already withheld more than $220 million due to budget constraints caused by the virus. 

Of the additional $209 million in cuts, $172 million is being withheld from higher education and K-12 combined. Parson says the Office of Administration, the Departments of Corrections, Health and Senior Services, and Social Services will also see cuts in planned spending.

Eric Schmid and Jaclyn Driscoll

9 a.m. Monday, June 1

Good morning. Welcome to June. 

Summer camps open today in St. Louis, but they look a little different. Kids will be kept in small groups for the duration and not allowed to mingle. Meals and hands-on activities will be pre-packaged. For the full story, read/listen to Summer Camps Are Happening, But Parents Wonder If It's Better To Play Camp Counselor.

Missouri S&T will possibly eliminate some majors because of economic pressures from the coronavirus. In the past six years, some majors have had just a handful of graduates, with an average of 15 in English, 11 in history and three in philosophy and religious studies.

Protests against police killings rocked major cities across the U.S. all weekend, and St. Louis was no exception. Catch up on our coverage of protests last night in Ferguson, Richmond Heights and Edwardsville; Saturday in Clayton, University City and Ferguson; and Friday in downtown St. Louis.

Here are the latest coronavirus counts

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 10,430 positive cases; 850 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 13,147 cases; 772 deaths.
  • Illinois: 120,260 cases; 5,390 deaths.

— Lindsay Toler

7:30 a.m. Sunday, May 31

Happy Sunday morning.

Once again, we don’t have a lot of new information about the coronavirus’ impact on the St. Louis area. That’s likely because the region’s attention turned to the protests over police violence against African Americans. 

Several hundred people protested Saturday, first in Clayton and University City during the afternoon, and at night the protests moved to Ferguson. The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but things did turn violent after 10 p.m. Several police officers were hurt by thrown rocks and other debris, but no civilians were injured. No arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the region, though the number of new cases and deaths is slowing. At 5 p.m. Thursday, we’ll hold a virtual town hall to hear your thoughts and questions about what health care will look like after the pandemic wanes. Let us know what’s on your mind about health care. There are multiple ways to communicate with us, including email, townhall@stlpublicradio.org; voicemail, 314-516-6397; or text, by sending HEALTH to 314-626-5968.

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 11,259 positive cases; 847 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,962 cases; 771 deaths.
  • Illinois: 118,917 cases; 5,330 deaths.

— Shula Neuman

7 a.m. Saturday, May 30

Good morning. 

It was an active evening Friday into the wee hours of Saturday morning, but not due to the coronavirus. Rather, protesters took to the streets of downtown St. Louis in solidarity with protesters in Minneapolis and across the country, expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd. The protests in St. Louis were largely peaceful, though a group did shut down Interstate 70 for several hours, setting a fire on the highway and looting an Amazon Prime van, according to the Post-Dispatch. One man was killed when he climbed between the trailers on a truck and the truck drove away.

As we mentioned yesterday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will not be holding daily press briefings anymore. This means we won’t have any updates from Illinois later today. But do stay tuned to our website for updates on the protests expected to happen later today.

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 11,137 positive cases; 785 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,795 cases; 738 deaths.
  • Illinois: 117,455 cases; 5,720 deaths.

— Shula Neuman

10:30 p.m. Friday, May 29

A Boone County, Missouri, resident who spent Memorial Day weekend at multiple bars, restaurants and pools in the Lake of the Ozarks has tested positive for the coronavirus. Videos of large crowds not wearing face coverings there last weekend went viral on social media and earned criticism from public health officials.

The Camden County Health Department reported the person visited Backwater Jacks, Shady Gators, Lazy Gators and Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend. 

By Sunday, the person had developed symptoms of the virus, county health department director Bee Dampier said. She is advising anyone who was at those locations to monitor themselves for symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and loss of taste or smell.

— Jonathan Ahl

4:55 p.m. Friday, May 29

Illinois Gov. J.B. Ptizker will no longer give daily briefings on the state’s battle against coronavirus. The move comes as Illinois is lifting its stay-at-home order, and it marks the end of more than 10 weeks of the daily messages and questions from the media.

Prtizker said the number of COVID patients in ICUs is down 20% and deaths are down 32% in the past two weeks. The governor also said while he disagrees with President Trump's tweets that call for reopening sooner than the data supports, the White House guidelines are sound and Illinois is meeting the benchmarks.

A Kirkwood restaurant is closing for 10 days after discovering that one of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Amigos Cantina closed voluntarily, and will reopen June 9. The business has pledged to make sure the health and safety of customers and staff is its top priority.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has asked city elections officials to follow the lead of their colleagues in the county and send absentee ballot applications to voters over the age of 60 due to the pandemic.

The resolution was adopted unanimously by the board on Friday. It also asks the Board of Election Commissioners to go further and send those applications to all voters. The city’s Republican director of elections said the board will follow existing law and send them to any voter who requests one, but will not do so proactively.

— Rachel Lippmann and Jonathan Ahl

11:30 a.m. Friday, May 29

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has announced a plan to distribute $64 million in federal aid intended to bolster the city’s response to the coronavirus. 

“Federal and state unemployment will run out, but our people will still be suffering,” Krewson said Friday.

The mayor said she hopes that the funding will ease the economic fallout for residents who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. 

The funding plan distributes:

  • $7 million to the Health Department, $2.5 million of which will be used to hire new staff including contact tracers — and acquire contact tracing technology.
  • $18 million to the Human Services Department. That will include $5 million to rental and mortgage support, $3 million for utility assistance and $2 million for rapid rehousing programs.
  • $4 million to the St. Louis Development Corporation for programs that support small businesses. The support will prioritize businesses that have fewer employees, or that are located in federally recognized “distressed areas.”
  • $12 million to personal protective equipment, testing supplies and cleaning services.

Most of the funding comes from a $35 million grant from the federal CARES Act. The city also received grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s community development program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Krewson said. 
Krewson said she will present the plan to the Board of Aldermen next week for revisions and approval. 

— Kae Petrin

9:15 a.m. Friday, May 29

Good morning.

A record number of voters have asked for absentee ballots for the June 2 municipal election in St. Louis County. Election officials expect an even greater increase in absentee balloting if Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation that expands the ability of people to vote from home. Read more: Missouri’s First Coronavirus Election Could Foreshadow Shift Toward Absentee Voting

Nearly all businesses in Illinois will be able to reopen in some capacity today. The state has issued guidelines and requirements for how businesses in the retail, manufacturing, fitness, office, restaurant and personal care sectors will be able to safely reopen. Read more in our story from Metro East reporter Eric Schmid

Demonstrators marched in downtown St. Louis and in Ferguson yesterday to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Many wore face masks and held signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Not 1 More.” For videos of the demonstration downtown, check out KMOX reporter Kevin Killeen’s Twitter feed.

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 10,146 positive cases; 778 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,673 cases; 707 deaths.
  • Illinois: 115,833 cases; 5,186 deaths.

— Lindsay Toler

5:10 p.m. Thursday, May 28

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday that he will extend until June 15 the first part of his plan to lift coronavirus restrictions.

The current order, which allows businesses to reopen provided they implement capacity limits and social distancing, was set to expire on Sunday. Parson said he decided to extend it to ensure that the state has time to prepare for fewer restrictions.

“Extending phase 1 through June 15 aligns us with our executive orders as well as the state of emergency in Missouri,” he said.

“Additionally, some communities across this state are further along than others when it comes to reopening and economic recovery.”

Businesses can still continue to operate as long as social distancing guidelines remain in place. There are also no limitations on social gatherings as long as people can remain 6 feet apart.

St. Louis City Hall reopens to the public on Monday, but with restrictions. To enter the building, visitors must wear masks or face coverings and be prepared to have their temperatures taken. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed inside. There will also be occupancy limitations on elevators and in certain offices. Visitors should be prepared to wait outside or in their cars if offices reach capacity. City officials encourage the public to access city services on the city’s website

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Belleville will close three downtown streets Friday to help bars and restaurants implement social distancing for patrons. The City Council voted to close portions of south High and Jackson streets and north Church Street through late August. 

“We encourage our residents to support Belleville and to buy Belleville first, and whether that means by getting out and about some this weekend or still getting carry-out, we appreciate the support of our local businesses,” Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said. 

Belleville officials also announced that City Hall will reopen Monday. The Public Services Building and the General and Community Assistance building also will open.

CVS announced on Thursday it will open 22 drive-thru coronavirus testing sites at selected pharmacies across Missouri. Self-swab tests will be available for those who meet CDC and state guidelines. 

— Jaclyn Driscoll and Andrea Henderson

9 a.m. Thursday, May 28

Good morning. Yesterday, we told you how members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are questioning Dr. Fred Echols’ qualifications to be city health director. Last night, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced that she and Echols agreed that it's in the city's best interests to change his title to acting director.

Krewson said Echols is fully qualified for the position. “Some seek to discredit this highly qualified physician; it is unclear what their motive is,” the mayor wrote in a letter to the board. Read more in our updated story: Members Of The Board Of Aldermen Question St. Louis Health Director's Qualifications

Coronavirus was likely in Missouri for more than a month before the first patient tested positive. Data on the state health department's website now shows the first case of the virus in Missouri on Feb. 2, not March 7, as the state had previously reported. Read more in this story from our colleagues at KCUR. 

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 10,029 positive cases; 766 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,592 cases; 696 deaths.
  • Illinois: 114,306 cases; 5,083 deaths.

— Lindsay Toler

5:25 p.m. Wednesday, May 27

The top attorney for the City of St. Louis told a Board of Aldermen committee that the city's health director is not qualified to hold the position. The city hired Dr. Fred Echols as the health department director in 2019. He previously served as an infectious disease expert at the St. Louis County health department.

Echols had let his medical license lapse while he was working as a public health official, according to legal documents. According to the city charter, the health director must satisfy one of three requirements in the city’s charter to hold the office: be a licensed physician, be certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, or have completed graduate work to the level of a master’s degree in public health.

City Attorney Julian Bush testified that he regretted that Echols was not qualified based on those requirements. First Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus brought the issue before a meeting of the board’s Health and Human Services and Rules Committees Wednesday afternoon.

Horse racing tracks in Illinois will be able to start hosting live races in the next phase of reopening, which begins Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritkzer said Wednesday. Spectators will not be able to watch races in person, as the races and betting will be online.

Fairmount Park in Collinsville could resume races as early as Monday, according to park officials.

— Sarah Fentem and Eric Schmid

12:25 p.m. Wednesday, May 27

St. Louis-area churches are getting masks to help them reopen. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will give 100,000 KN95 masks to the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition on Wednesday. 

These masks, and others distributed throughout the community, were purchased using federal aid money.

Washington University plans to allow several hundred employees to start working at its Danforth Campus on June 1.

The university also has released its academic calendar for the upcoming fall semester, with schools starting on different dates. 

The Brown School and the Law School will begin the fall semester on Aug. 24. Arts & Sciences, McKelvey Engineering, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School and University College will begin on Sept. 14.

The School of Medicine is planning a separate calendar that it will soon give to students. Wash U will provide more details about its reopening plans no later than July 31. 

Movie theaters in Illinois want to reopen sooner than Gov. J.B. Pritzker will allow them. Under Pritzker’s plan, the state will allow gatherings of 10 to 50 people when the rate of infection has declined and hospitals have enough capacity. Some regions of the state will reach this phase by June 26 at the earliest. 

The National Association of Theatre Owners of Illinois said Wednesday it wants to open venues before then but didn’t give a specific date. Theaters also want to limit auditoriums to 50% of their seating capacity, instead of capping attendance at 50 people. 

The St. Louis Science Center will reopen on June 20. 

Patrons will be required to make a reservation before they visit. The Science Center will provide a limited number of tickets per day and will restrict the time that patrons can visit. Visitors who are at least 9 years old and employees will be required to wear masks. The Science Center will share more details about its policies closer to opening. 

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page says he’s trying to boost the average number of tests in the county from around 500 to 1,000 a day.

Page said Wednesday the county is receiving more tests — which in turn could increase the average number performed per day.

“Our goal is to test 30 per 1,000 residents — or about 1,000 tests per day,” Page said. “We know that we’re testing at least 500, and we’re working with our testing partners to accurately collect that information.”

Page said the county’s testing results will be displayed on a dashboard on the county’s website.

St. Louis County has released social distancing rules for pools and other water recreation facilities. Operators are required to reduce the number of bathers allowed in pools by 25%. 

Workers must monitor visitors constantly for symptoms, and patrons will be required to wear face coverings when they’re not in the water. It recommends that heavily used pools consider a reservation system with staggered arrival times to avoid crowding, to keep a record of patrons and staff in case someone becomes infected and that workers test the chemical balance of the water at least once every two hours. 

— Jason Rosenbaum, Corinne Ruff and Eli Chen

9 a.m. Wednesday, May 27

Good morning. 

Missouri voters will decide in August whether the state expands Medicaid. The effort has attracted support from hospitals that say expansion is needed in order to keep rural hospitals afloat. Read more: Expanding Medicaid In Missouri To Go On August Ballot

Do you support Medicaid expansion in Missouri? How has your stance on the issue changed since the coronavirus pandemic? What questions do you have about how Medicaid affects Missouri health care? We’re gathering questions for our Health Care After Covid-19 Town Hall on June 4. Send us your thoughts at townhall@stlpublicradio.org, and we’ll include them during the conversation. 

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 9,914 positive cases; 756 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,291 cases; 686 deaths.
  • Illinois: 113,195 cases; 4,923 deaths.

Don’t miss the new episode of the We Live Here podcast about racial equity during a pandemic. Hear from the Rev. Starsky Wilson, Bethany Johnson-Javois and Dr. Jason Purnell about centering racial equality in health care and regional response: COVID-19: Leading Equity.

— Lindsay Toler

8:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 26

St. Louis County may soon make it easier for restaurants to have outdoor seating.

The St. Louis County Council initially approved legislation Tuesday night that allows restaurants to reallocate indoor seating to an outdoor area, including onto designated parking spaces. It also gives businesses leeway to use signs to show the public that their establishment has reopened.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said he backed Councilman Mark Harder’s legislation — and urged council members to support it. 

Harder’s bill needs one more vote before going to Page’s desk.

Madison County Transit will resume fare collection and express service to St. Louis on June 1.

The agency said Tuesday that it plans to continue operating its buses at 50% capacity, and transfer stations will remain closed to the public. It stopped collecting fares March 18 and reduced its operating schedule March 29. 

— Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann

4:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 26

The head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said it would not be surprising if large weekend gatherings at the Lake of the Ozarks contribute to a spike in coronavirus cases.

“Any time that you’re ignoring all of these practices, whether it’s social distancing, or wearing masks, or not washing your hands, you’re always increasing the risk of transmission,” Dr. Alex Garza said Tuesday during his regular weekly briefing. “But it remains to be seen if and when.”

Garza said the overall trends in hospitalization rates, a key metric, continue to look good a week after the St. Louis region partially reopened. But he added that it will take weeks to see any impact of the reopening.

Meanwhile, Illinois experienced a pandemic first: a decline in the number of deaths from one week to the next. There were 780 deaths caused by COVID-19 in Illinois for the week ending May 16.

Hospitalizations in the state also fell to a six-week low, said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday. State officials are optimistic about the milestones and said they signaled more businesses may be able to reopen throughout the state by the end of the week. 

Missouri’s first case of the coronavirus may have occurred more than a month earlier than previously thought.

The Kansas City Star reports that newly revised data released by the state Department of Health and Senior Services show the first reported case on Feb. 2. Previously, the state had said a 20-year-old from St. Louis County who had recently returned from Italy was the first case, according to an announcement made on March 8. But the new data show that by that point, 26 people had already been tested for the virus.

A DHSS spokeswoman told the Star that the state was revising its data as it got more information about when symptoms first appeared.

The Missouri Department of Corrections plans to begin testing all staff and inmates at state prisons for the coronavirus this week. The widespread testing will include people who don’t have any symptoms and it allows prisons to identify and contain any cases before they lead to a wider outbreak, officials said. As of Saturday, 44 inmates and 27 staffers have tested positive for the virus at Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston. 

Ameristar Casino in St. Charles plans to permanently lay off as many as 947 people, or up to 60% of its staff. The casino plans to make the cuts in early July as a result of decreased business due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter casino owners Boyd Gaming sent to the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development. The layoffs will affect hundreds of housekeepers, stewards, security workers, cooks and servers at the casino.

Mercy Hospital St. Louis will also immediately begin laying off or furloughing more than 600 workers at its campus in Creve Coeur. The permanent layoffs include 18 physicians. Temporary furloughs include dozens of clinical positions including 81 clinical nurses. 

— Sarah Fentem and Rachel Lippmann

9 a.m. Tuesday, May 26

Good morning, and we hope you had a nice holiday weekend. 

Elected officials are responding to images of partiers at Lake of the Ozarks from over the weekend. St. Louis County issued a travel advisory for businesses (scroll down to yesterday’s blog update for more). And St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson called it “irresponsible and dangerous” for so many people to gather without masks.

“Now, these folks will be coming home to St. Louis and counties all over Missouri and the Midwest, raising concerns about the potential of more positive cases, hospitalizations, and tragically, deaths,” Krewson said in a statement. 

Roadwork crews in the St. Louis region are finishing repaving and repair projects faster now that fewer drivers are on the streets and highways because to the pandemic. But there are also more speeders and distracted drivers, which puts workers at risk.

Don’t miss our interview with the Missouri Historical Society about what we can learn from the three waves of the 1918 flu pandemic: Can History Help Us Prepare For Potential Second Wave of COVID-19?

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 9,788 positive cases; 750 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 12,167 cases; 688 deaths.
  • Illinois: 112,017 cases; 4,884 deaths.

— Lindsay Toler

6 p.m. Monday, May 25

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has asked the county’s health department to issue a travel advisory. That’s after images of people crowding together at Lake of the Ozarks this weekend went viral.

The county's Department of Public Health is urging those who did not observe social distancing to self-quarantine for 14 days or until testing negative.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Page said. “I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”

The department recommends employers screen employees for health risks, including recent travel and social distancing behavior.

Here are four questions officials suggest employers ask:

  • Were those you traveled with or spent time with while away from home within 6 feet of others during your trip? Being within 6 feet of others increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
  • Do you live with someone who is more likely to become ill from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Are you or those you were traveling with more likely to become ill from COVID-19? Older adults and people of any age who have a serious underlying medical condition are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work? People with COVID-19 disease need to stay home until they are no longer considered infectious, for at least 14 days.

— Maria Altman

9 a.m. Monday, May 25

Good morning! It’s Memorial Day, and we hope you are able to mark the day in a meaningful way.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is open to those who want to visit loved one’s graves, but the wreath-laying ceremony will take place virtually on the cemetery’s Facebook page. The 932nd Airlift Wing will fly its C-40C over six hospitals in the region to honor health care workers. The flyover will take off at 11:50 a.m. from Scott Air Force Base and reach the hospitals at these times:

  • Belleville Memorial Hospital, Belleville, noon
  • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, O’Fallon, Illinois, 12:03
  • Memorial East Hospital, Shiloh, 12:05
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital, Highland, 12:15
  • Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, 12:30
  • VA Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, 12:45

The long holiday weekend brought lots of people out to the Lake of the Ozarks. The lack of social distancing sparked social media outrage and national media attention.

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Meanwhile, the St. Louis Department of Health announced that commercial laboratories are experiencing delays in processing coronavirus testing results. In a statement, department officials said that could be giving St. Louis and St. Louis County an incomplete picture of the virus’ spread as the region attempts to reopen.

“The number of positive test results and the total number of tests administered are key data points in the city’s decision-making process related to our response efforts for COVID-19,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, the city's director of health, who added, “Test results are the key to understanding how widely the virus has spread, how it is currently spreading, and its severity.”

Here are the latest coronavirus counts: 

  • St. Louis metro (bi-state): 9,655 positive cases; 750 people have died. 
  • Missouri: 11,988 cases; 688 deaths.
  • Illinois: 110,304 cases; 4,856 deaths.

— Maria Altman

Read updates from last week or earlier in our blog archive

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Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.