COVID-19 Communication

St. Louis County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Update


October 26, 2022

DPH Media Update

 

COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccine Booster for 5 years of age and Older

 

On Thursday, Oct. 27, DPH will open walk-in vaccinations of the new COVID-19 vaccine booster, which targets Omicron variants of the virus, to individuals 5 years of age and older.

 

Vaccinations are offered at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley, the South County Health Center in Sunset Hills and the North Central Community Health Center in Jennings from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The North Central Community Health Center is closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. While walk-in service is available, appointments are encouraged. You may make appointments from the Department of Public Health COVID page or by visiting “ReviveSTL.com.”

 

The updated COVID-19 boosters, known as “bivalent boosters,” are specifically designed to fight the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants –the most common variants circulating in St. Louis County and highly transmissible version of the virus. The updated booster offers greater protection compared to the original vaccine and booster shots which were created before these new variants were discovered. They were previously available to individuals 12 and older, but the CDC recently approved their use for individuals as young as 5.

 

The new boosters add a safe and effective weapon in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get one. There are two brands of the new bivalent booster authorized for individuals 5 years of age and older: Pfizer BioNTech bivalent booster dose (5 years of age and older) and Moderna bivalent booster dose (6 years of age and older). Currently, DPH has the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 primary series vaccines available for all ages, and the Pfizer BioNTech bivalent booster for individuals 5 years and older.  Moderna COVID-19 primary vaccine series for infants (6 months to 6 years of age), and Moderna COVID-19 primary vaccine series for adults 18 years of age and older are also available. DPH currently only has Moderna bivalent booster vaccine available for individuals 18 years of age and older.  

 

It is important and recommended that everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group. This recommendation includes that people ages 5 years and older receive one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was their final primary series dose or an original (monovalent) booster. People who have gotten more than one original (monovalent) booster are also recommended to get an updated (bivalent) booster.

 

We know that cases tend to rise as temperatures fall. Indoor gatherings, which are common in the fall and winter, provide more opportunities for the transmission of COVID-19. The Omicron variant is highly contagious and widespread adoption of the new booster shot provides the best chance to avoid disruptions to regular care and treatment from overburdened local hospitals.

 

For these reasons, we need to do all that we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community – and that includes getting the new booster shot, regular hand washing, and wearing a well-fitting mask to protect yourself and others.


October 12, 2022

 

DPH Media Update

 

Flu Shots Available 

 

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is now administering flu shots at our three health clinics located in Berkeley, Pine Lawn and Sunset Hills. With fall in full swing DPH recommends that individuals 6 months and older get their flu vaccine. A higher dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older will be available this season as well. Flu shots are available Monday through Friday at John C. Murphy Health Center, North Central Community Health Center and South County Health Center from 8 - 10:30 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary to receive a flu shot. Please note that flu shots are processed via patients’ insurance with the sliding-scale fee applied for patients without health insurance.

 

"Not only did masks help slow the spread of COVID-19, they also helped keep the flu at bay," said County Executive Dr. Sam Page. "We are watching cautiously as flu cases climb across the country. Since it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to become effective, we strongly suggest you get your flu shot now." You can get a flu shot at the same time you get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. The new COVID booster shot is specially designed to protect against the Omicron variants of the COVID virus that are most common in St. Louis County. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available at all three of our health centers Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk ins are welcome or you can schedule an appointment here. DPH encourages the community to stay up to date on your vaccines to help protect yourself, your family and others from getting sick this fall and winter. For more COVID-19 information visit our Department of Public Health COVID page.

 

 

Expired COVID Tests

 

The FDA does not recommend using at-home COVID-19 antigen tests beyond their authorized expiration dates. COVID-19 tests and the parts they are made of may degrade, or break down, over time. Because of this, expired test kits could give inaccurate or invalid test results. The FDA has extended the expiration date on some antigen kits beyond the printed date which allows the user more time to use the specific test. According to the FDA, an extended expiration date means the manufacturer provided data showing that the shelf-life is longer than was known when the test was first authorized. To see a complete list of COVID-19 tests and their expiration dates please visit the FDA website.

 

COVID antigen test kits and PCR self-collection kits continue to be available for pickup at our health centers. Test kits are available at John C. Murphy Health Center, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. South County Health Center has test kits available Mondays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon. North Central Community Health Center will provide test kits on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Please note that the North Central Community Health Center will close from 1 to 1:30 p.m. for lunch. Testing continues to be one of our most important tools in fighting COVID-19. For additional information visit our COVID-19 page.

September 21, 2022

 St. Louis County DPH Update

COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccine Booster

Today the St. Louis County Department of Public Health will begin allowing walk-ins for administration of the new COVID-19 vaccine booster, which targets Omicron variants of the virus.

 Appointments are also available at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley and the South County Health Center in Sunset Hills from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may make appointments from the Department of Public Health COVID page or by visiting “ReviveSTL.com.”

The updated COVID-19 boosters, which are known as “bivalent boosters,” are specifically designed to fight the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants – the most transmissible versions of the virus, and the most common in St. Louis County. When the original vaccine and booster shots were created, these new variants didn’t exist. 

The new boosters add a powerful weapon in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get one. There are two brands of the new bivalent booster: Pfizer, which is approved for ages 12 and older, and Moderna, which is approved for those 18 and older. While neither of the new boosters has been approved for children younger than 12, we still offer the original booster shot for ages 5 to 11. In the coming weeks, the CDC expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups.

Patients cannot get the new booster until it has been at least two months since they received their last COVID shot. Also, patients will not qualify to receive the new booster until they have gotten their initial COVID vaccinations. That means two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. Appointments are not necessary to get the initial dose, so please come to one of our health centers to get your initial shots and schedule your booster dose.

At this time we are still documenting more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per day in our county, which puts us in CDC’s high category of transmission. We also know that cases tend to rise as temperatures fall. Indoor gatherings, which are common in the fall and winter, lead to more transmission of COVID.

For these reasons, we need to do all that we can to stop the spread of COVID – and that includes getting the new booster shot if you are eligible.

 

September 14, 2022

St. Louis County DPH Update

 COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccine Booster

 Today the St. Louis County Department of Public Health will begin administering the new COVID-19 vaccine booster, which targets Omicron variants of the virus.

 

Appointments are now available at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley and the South County Health Center in Sunset Hills from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may make appointments from the Department of Public Health COVID page or by visiting “ReviveSTL.com.”

 

We are asking residents to make appointments because we anticipate a surge of interest in the new shots, and we want to be able to accommodate everyone.

 

The updated COVID-19 boosters, which are known as “bivalent boosters,” are specifically designed to fight the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants – the most transmissible versions of the virus, and the most common in St. Louis County. When the original vaccine and booster shots were created, these new variants didn’t exist.  

 

The new boosters add a powerful weapon in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get one. There are two brands of the new bivalent booster: Pfizer, which is approved for ages 12 and older, and Moderna, which is approved for those 18 and older. While neither of the new boosters has been approved for children younger than 12, we still offer the original booster shot for ages 5 to 11. In the coming weeks, the CDC expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups.

 

Patients cannot get the new booster until it has been at least two months since they received their last COVID shot. Also, patients will not qualify to receive the new booster until they have gotten their initial COVID vaccinations. That means two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. Appointments are not necessary to get the initial dose, so please come to one of our health centers to get your initial shots and schedule your booster dose.

 

At this time we are still documenting more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per day in our county, which puts us in CDC’s high category of transmission. We also know that cases tend to rise as temperatures fall. Indoor gatherings, which are common in the fall and winter, lead to more transmission of COVID. 

For these reasons, we need to do all that we can to stop the spread of COVID – and that includes getting the new booster shot if you are eligible.

September 7, 2022

St. Louis County DPH Update

 COVID-19 Boosters

 Bivalent COVID-19 boosters are becoming available and DPH anticipates an order of the vaccines to arrive next week. Once the vaccines have been delivered, DPH will notify the public and begin to administer the boosters.

Please keep in mind that only individuals who have completed their primary vaccination series (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) are eligible to receive the bivalent booster. Those who have recently received Novavax are not yet eligible for any booster at this time. If you have not been vaccinated or have not completed your primary series, click here to make an appointment. 

Individuals are eligible for the bivalent booster two months since their last primary or booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. The previous monovalent booster will no longer be available to persons 12 and older; the FDA is removing authorization for those boosters to reduce provider confusion for staff administering vaccines.

The Pfizer bivalent booster is currently authorized for ages 12 and older while Moderna’s is currently authorized for 18 years of age and older. Individuals may choose to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster, regardless of which primary series vaccine or original booster dose they had previously.   

For additional information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, please click here or visit https://www.cdc.gov.

July 6, 2022

St. Louis County COVID-19 Update

 COVID-19 Testing and Determining Close Contacts

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health continues to offer COVID-19 tests at all three St. Louis County Public Health Clinic locations at no cost. Testing remains one of our most important tools in fighting COVID-19. Testing is an important prevention measure to protect yourself, your family and the community at large. 

Regardless of vaccination status, if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should get tested. It is recommended to get tested 5 days after close contact with someone with COVID-19. The CDC considers a close contact as someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. This is regardless of whether the person was wearing a mask properly.

Free drive-through COVID testing is available weekdays with or without appointments, at our three DPH health clinics located in Berkeley, Pine Lawn and Sunset Hills. You can also pick up at-home test kits at our clinics and select library locations throughout the county. These tests can be taken as needed. You provide a saliva sample and then return the test to a Department of Public Health drop-off box. To schedule a COVID-19 testing appointment or for general testing information, please visit DPH’s COVID-19 testing page.


St. Louis County COVID-19 Update

 COVID-19 Cases

 Increase in COVID-19 cases continues in St. Louis County

June 1, 2022

DPH continues to document a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in our community. The rolling seven-day average is currently  366 new cases per day, which represents an 9.8% increase  over a seven-day period. The positivity rate is now 18.5 percent and the public COVID-19 dashboard is up to date.

Given this recent trend as well as the progress of new sub-variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 across the country, DPH continues to strongly recommend that residents use the tools available to slow the spread of the disease: get up to date on vaccines, including boosters; wear masks in public indoor places; and isolate and get tested if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19. If you feel sick, please stay home and get tested. If you use an at-home test, you can report a positive result online here.


St. Louis County COVID-19 Update

 

COVID-19 Cases

 

Increase in COVID-19 cases continues in St. Louis County

May 11, 2022

DPH continues to document a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in our community. The rolling seven-day average is currently 247 new cases per day, which represents a 27.6% increase over a seven-day period. The positivity rate is now 12.9 percent and the public COVID-19 dashboard is up to date.

 

Given this recent trend as well as the progress of new sub-variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 across the country, DPH continues to strongly recommend that residents use the tools available to slow the spread of the disease: get up to date on vaccines, including boosters; wear masks in public indoor places; and isolate and get tested if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19. If you feel sick, please stay home and get tested. If you use an at-home test, you can report a positive result online here.  

 

April Report on Long-Term Care Facilities Shows Ongoing Risk

 

COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to St. Louis County residents who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities (LTCFs), newly reported data from April 2022 shows. In facilities across the county, 94 new cases of the disease were reported last month. This is a slight increase from the 76 cases reported in March.

 

Six people died from COVID-19 in St. Louis County LTCFs during this time. This represents a considerable decline from the high death tolls reported over the winter, but people living in care facilities are still at disproportionate risk. In total, 1,384 LTCF residents have died over the course of the pandemic, representing nearly 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the county.

 

The Department of Public Health is closely monitoring the continued spread of COVID-19 among high-risk populations. For a full report, visit https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/public-health/covid-19/covid-19-data-reports/covid-19-ltc-report/.


Living with COVID-19

April 12, 2022

As we observe the recent decline in new cases of COVID-19, we must also use lessons learned during the pandemic. COVID-19 remains in our community, and we cannot pretend we live in a world in which it doesn’t exist. Our ability to live with COVID-19 largely depends on how well we control its spread.

To that end, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the City of St. Louis Department of Health are releasing the attached “Living with COVID” document. It shares actions that individuals and institutions like businesses and schools can take to foster safer and healthier environments moving forward.  We hope that this document helps the public understand that while COVID will likely remain a part of our lives for years to come, we have the tools necessary to control the disease and keep our communities safe – if we choose to use them.

“Similar to other communicable diseases, COVID-19 may likely remain in our community, much like the flu, and we must recognize the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities over the past two years,” says Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis. “Through this coordinated policy with Saint Louis County DPH, we can work in tandem to protect our residents and visitors in the weeks and months to come.”

Dr. Faisal Khan, acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, agreed.

“Three factors will determine the future course of the pandemic: the virus, its variants and human behavior. Out of the three we can only hope to influence and modify human behavior,” he said. “As we learn to live with the virus, we will need to practice assessing risk. The pandemic is not over, and we may yet be hit again with another surge. However, if we work together to protect ourselves and each other, we will be able to live our lives to the fullest. Please get vaccinated, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, wear a mask in indoor public spaces and encourage others to do the same. Together we can beat this.”

The two health departments pledge to keep the public informed about the level of COVID-19 in our communities and how best to prevent, treat and recover from the disease. Their teams will continue educating county and city residents about the realities of living with this disease.  Experts in both departments are available to speak with the media about the document and its practical applications for the public.

St. Louis County Full Statement

Q&A 

As a parent, when should I keep my child home from school?  We understand that there are a lot of factors you consider when determining whether you or your child should stay home, and that keeping a child home from school is difficult to coordinate. Isolation and quarantine are key tools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among children and in the community. We need the cooperation of parents to help create the safest environment for children to learn and play. Please keep your kids home if they are sick or if they are exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date on their vaccines. In addition, please follow your school’s guidance if your child is excluded from school. For questions about your school’s policy, you’ll need to get in touch with your school directly. For the latest public health guidance, please go to http://www.stlcorona.com or http://www.CDC.gov.  

Do you (DPH) still have authority to isolate and quarantine?  Yes, DPH has the authority to do isolation and quarantine. We work with schools and partners to explain isolation and quarantine. If you have any specific questions, please email us at comments.dph@stlouiscountymo.gov

Do people still have to quarantine even if the health department doesn’t call them and tell them to?  Yes! It is everyone’s responsibility to follow CDC and DHSS guidelines when they apply to them, meaning: If you believe you have COVID, you should follow the guidelines for isolation. If you find out you’ve been around someone with COVID, you should follow the guidelines for quarantine.  

What should people do if they can’t get a test and they have symptoms?  Finding a test may be difficult during this current surge in cases. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (especially if you have a known exposure, but even if you don’t) and you can’t get a test, you should consider yourself a case. This means you should notify those with whom you had close contact, which is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more. For testing options, visit ReviveSTL.com.

If I am concerned that I have coronavirus or may have been exposed, what do I do?
Contact the St. Louis County COVID-19 Hotline 24/7 at (314) 615-2660

Where can I get information and updates?
Visit St. Louis County’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.STLcorona.com
Please follow St. Louis County, the County Department of Public Health and the County Executive on social media for updates.

http://twitter.com/StLCountyDOH
https://www.facebook.com/StLCountyDOH
https://www.facebook.com/CountyExecutiveSamPage/
https://twitter.com/drsampage

University City's City Hall follows St. Louis County's Guidance, which can be found here:  https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/public-health/covid-19/

Where can I get updates about travel?
Coronavirus Disease Information for Travel can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

What resources are available from St. Louis County? 
  • Guidance for the general public, churches, schools, businesses, and community organizations on how to prevent the spread of germs and diseases.
  • Regular updates on COVID-19 from the state and federal government.
  • Health education and promotional materials to help promote hand washing, Cover Your Cough, and other community messages.
  • Assistance with emergency planning and preparation.
  • Literature and information for vulnerable populations.
  • St. Louis County clinics can provide medical care to all County residents, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Call (314) 615-0500 if you do not have a doctor.
Additional resources on cleaning your home:  https://www.safehome.org/resources/keeping-house-clean-flu-coronavirus/

Business Assistance Information

The COVID-19 Resources for Business provides up-to-date information on support, loans, and grants for restaurants and other businesses.