ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( -- Nearly one week since the first mass vaccination site opened in Ferguson, St. Louis County announced four additional sites will open their doors soon. 

Residents will be able to get vaccinated at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6121 North Hanely Road in Berkeley and the Affton, Eureka, and Melhville fire districts. St. Louis County Acting Health Director Spring Schmidt reiterated that all locations require residents to pre-register ahead -- currently 281,000 people have already signed up. Schmidt adds that 5,100 residents have been vaccinated last week and hope to vaccinate 5,000 people daily as long as supplies last.

The new centers allows more residents to get vaccinated. New data shows the county's positivity rate is decreasing. However, the declining positivity rate may not be an accurate representation of the spread of the virus. As of Monday morning, 7.7 percent of St. Louis County has received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The county's positivity rate has gone down 10 percent for the first time since October, but health officials believe its because testing has gone down. Although the current rate is at 9.7 percent, health experts said that is still high and the virus is still widespread.

Schmidt said the rate is  “not dropping as much as we would like it to be which means there is still some free flowing transmission happening in our community. We have considered doing another prevalent study but we do not currently have any announcements for it at this point.”

In the past week, St. Louis County tested an average of 1,993 people per day--this is the first time that number has fallen below 2,000 since June. This could be that fewer people are being tested, more people are getting an antigen test, a delay in reporting test result, or a combination of it all.

Health officials called the decline worrisome but said the amount of testing is not adequate to identify a a sufficiently large portion of currently infected people. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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