ST. LOUIS ( -- The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said Sunday that more than 400 patients were hospitalized in the area for COVID-19 and that number is expected to peak in two to three weeks. 

Dr. Alex Garza, the head of the task force, said 468 patients were either in the hospital for a confirmed COVID-19 case or are too sick to be home and are awaiting a test result for the novel coronavirus. Garza said of those patients, 164 are in the ICU. Of the 164 in the ICU, 139 are on ventilators.

The patients are hospitalized within the task force hospital systems in the St. Louis region; SSM, BJC, Mercy and St. Luke's. 

Read more on the task force here. 

"We have every reason to believe that the surge is still coming," Garza said. 

The numbers were announced on Sunday, when Missouri cases reached 2,467. More than half of the total cases are in News 4's viewing area at 1,591. According to state and county data, 46 people have died so far around the state and 33 of them were reported in News 4's viewing area. 

[RELATED: News 4 is tracking COVID-19 cases in Missouri and Illinois by jurisdiction]

Garza said about 30% of patients admitted to a hospital will need intensive care, and 70% of patients in the intensive care unit will need ventilators. Garza said this applies to both St. Louis and nationwide.

The Missouri Department of Health and Social Services reports the state has 3,732 surgical beds and 707 ICU beds. The state has 1,092 available ventilators. 

Garza said the peak in numbers is expected to hit in two to three weeks. He said the task is expecting hospitalization numbers to rise to 1,300. He said the worst case scenario would be 3,300 patients suffering from the virus admitted at hospitals.

"We have a very complex problem but can really be boiled down to a simple strategy which is to stop the spread, which in turn saves lives," Garza said. "And that is by continuing the social isolation, social distancing, washing hands, keeping surfaces clean. All of those things that we've been talking about."

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