St. Louis Task Force chief willing to recommend another shutdown if necessary

Formulating threshold to determine how many new cases are too many

Brian Kelly
May 13, 2020 - 1:23 pm
 Garza, St. Louis, task force

(UPI:Bill Greenblatt)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The head of the Metropolitan St. Louis Pandemic Task Force says he is satisfied with the "slow and measured" approach being used to reopen businesses in St. Louis City and County, but is there a point where he would step in and call for another shutdown?

There is, says Dr. Alex Garza, but exactly where it is hasn't been determined yet. Garza tells KMOX with testing supplies still not adequate, he and his staff are looking at other metrics, including admissions and patient complaints, looking for trigger points.

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"We're challenging ourselves to say, 'What do we believe would be the fastest signal that would signify too rapid of a rise in cases,'" he says. "Those cases are going to bump up and down every day.

"What we want to do is identify a pattern as quickly as possible. There are different statistical methods you can use to take a look at that. We're actively working on that right now." 

Garza says if he sees cases rising too quickly, he won't hesitate to tell Mayor Lyda Krewson and County Executive Sam Page they need to re-think what they're doing. He says, at the end of the day, saving lives is what's most important to him.

"That makes my choice really easy, if we start seeing an increase in cases, an increase in hospitalizations, then we would need to talk with our elected officials and say, 'Look, we're having an increase in cases, we're going to need to ratchet things down again until we get this under control,'" Garza says.

In the meantime, Garza says, the city and county are doing it the right way.

"This go slow, very measured approach and seeing what the impact is, is really about the best approach you can do," Garza says.

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