ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- With rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases and high hospitalizations, what will local leaders do to control the spread? Do we go back to restrictions like the ones implemented at the beginning of the pandemic?
Another stay-at-home order is not off the table, according to some local leaders.
On Thursday, officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said a total of 412 patients are at local hospitals for the coronavirus. This is the highest since May 7. The total hospitalizations has been steadily increasing since the beginning of October, and in just 20 days, the seven-day average went from 249 to 379, a 52% increase.
"If we're at the point in the health care systems where we've created all the capacity that we can, cut way down on elective procedures, stretched our staff, that could be the trigger but the point that I try to stress to everybody is the whole point of doing this is to not get to that level, we never want to be at the point where we have to take dramatic action," Dr. Alex Garza with the task force said.
Garza said on Wednesday the regional health care systems were at 85% capacity and intensive care units are at 75% and growing.
St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the majority of these cases are stemming from small house parties and family gatherings.
"Everything is on the table but frankly, even if we had a stay at home order, how would we prevent you from having a house party?" Krewson said. "I understand we're all tired of this, but it's really driving our numbers up."
Local leaders say we have a small window of time to correct this growing trend. This means more emphasis on wearing masks, sanitizing, keeping a distance and limiting the number of people in a room.
"The trend, the seven-day average is going up and that's concerning for us," Page said.
"It was unbelievably hard"
In their 24 years of marriage Kelly and Scott Krupinski never spent more than a weekend apart. Until March when Scott Krupinski was in the hospital for 59 days battling COVID-19.
"I remember pacing around the house thinking, what am I going to do?" Kelly Krupinski said. "I couldn't go into the room, was just watching through the window and praying for him. It was unbelievably hard."
Kelly Krupinski was diagnosed with the virus too but recovered much quicker than her husband. Scott Krupinski had multiple organ failures, septic shock and a fever of over 105. The 56-year-old's condition got so bad he ended up spending three weeks in the ICU on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma.
"They basically told me he was in 'Do Not Resuscitate.' If he went into heart failure, they would not resuscitate him, it was that bad," Kelly Krupinski said.
Nothing short of a miracle, they were both back together in their O'Fallon, Missouri home five months later.
"It is very serious, it's very real," Kelly Krupinski said. "I know that's Scott's main message he wanted to get out there, is please take it seriously."