ST. LOUIS ( -- Missouri reported 508 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the second most ever in one day. In St. Louis County, 136 new cases were reported which is the most in more than two months. 

Tracking coronavirus cases, deaths in Missouri

These numbers are updated daily, using whatever data is more up-to-date; the State of Missouri numbers released around 3:00 each afternoon or numbers sent to News 4 straight from the county throughout the day.

County Confirmed Cases Deaths
Crawford 17 0
Franklin 227 18
Gasconade 13 0
Iron 3 0
Jefferson 582 23
Lincoln 102 1
Phelps 49 0
Pike 38 1
Reynolds 3 0
St. Charles 1239 76
St. Francois 155 2
St. Louis City 2524 158
St. Louis County 6931 584
Ste Genevieve 21 1
Warren 59 0
Washington 25 1

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported 28 new hospitalizations, which is the most in six weeks.

The surge in cases is leading to discussions about implementing a mask mandate in the St. Louis area.

The number of confirmed cases has quickly increased since the state reopened for business on June 16, swelling by 10.9% in just the last seven days, health officials said.

[RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 cases in Missouri and Illinois]

The state's COVID-19 death toll rose by 17 on Tuesday, surpassing the 1,000 mark amid a resurgence of the disease that has seen cases skyrocket in recent weeks.

“We crossed the milestone of 1,000 deaths and i think it’s important for all of us to remember that. That’s 1,000 people that lost their lives to COVID-19 and I think we all need to remember that. This virus is not going to go away. We have to do everything we can to make sure one another is safe,” Governor Mike Parson said.

And ahead of another holiday weekend, there’s concern people could once again gather in large groups without proper social distancing and restrictions similar to Memorial Day Weekend in the Lake of the Ozarks. There is a trend where more people in their 20s and 30s are testing positive for the coronavirus.

Health Director Dr. Randall Williams said it will be vital for young people to follow the advice of hand washing, social distancing and if social distancing isn’t possible to wear a mask.

“I spoke with the Missouri State Medical Association, they would all highly encourage you to wear a mask if you can’t social distance, and to use good hand washing,” Williams said.

Locally, Dr. Alex Garza believes our area might soon follow Kansas City in requiring masks in public buildings. Dr. Garza emphasized that evidence is clear that wearing masks decreases the transmission of COVID-19.

"There are active discussion going on about that and very fair to say a lot of uptick going on both across the country, locally and within the state. So unless we want to go back to shelter in place, which I don't think anyone wants to do that again, there are simple, not expensive things we can do to decrease transmission of virus and one of those is wearing masks," Dr. Garza said.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page agreed Tuesday, saying they are in discussions of what a mask requirement "would look like."

[RELATED: How to properly wear a mask]

However, Parson said the state does not have plans to mandate masks. He'll continue to leave that up to local governments. 

"You know, you have to make a decision as individuals to decided whether you're going to do that or not," Parson said. "You know the facts whether to wear one or not."

The St. Louis Metro Pandemic Task Force recently changed the way it presents local numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Until now, the group combined presumed cases and positive cases into one number. They said that strategy helped hospitals make sure they had enough equipment on hand during the peak of the pandemic.

Also early on, they were only testing people who had high suspicion of having the virus. Now with fewer cases and most testing, the task force is highlighting just the positive cases of the coronavirus.

Mandatory face masks

"As we got to thinking about this a lot of those presumed COVID patients don't actually convert to COVID positive patients, in fact the majority don't,” Dr. Garza said. “So we felt it was a little bit inaccurate to be reporting the true COVID cases plus presumed because it makes the number look bigger than the COVID disease actually is."

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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