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Fragmented St. Louis Region’s Coronavirus Preparedness Is Being Tested

March 11, 2020 Featured, STL Region No Comments

I wrote the recent Coronavirus-related Sunday Poll a week ago. At the time the Coronavirus hadn’t come to the St. Louis region. Then Saturday night came word of a case in St. Louis County, so I had to revise the post. So much has happened in just a few days, first the non-scientific results:

Q: Agree or disagree: The St. Louis region is well-prepared to handle the Coronavirus.

  • Strongly agree: 0 [0%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 6 [28.57%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Disagree: 3 [14.29%]
  • Strongly disagree: 7 [33.33%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 3 [14.29%]

We don’t really know, but we’re about to find out.

Source: Food & Drug Administration

I do take comfort that St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is also a physician.  However, I’m a little concerned instructions to self quarantine are only issued verbally, it’s a honor system. As a person with short-term memory issues I often forget things said to me verbally — I really need written information. Email is easy as a backup to verbal.

That said, it seems like common sense if a member of your household might test positive the entire household needs to quarantine — not go out for coffee or attend a party and dance.

As a cancer patient, I’m also high risk. So don’t expect to see me out and about. Other than grocery shopping and visiting Siteman Cancer Center, I’ll be at home. I’d planned to spend two weeks in Chicago next month, but I’m putting that off indefinitely.

Most of you don’t have the luxury to stay at home. Yes, some of you can work from home but most cannot. Many, like my husband, get zero paid days off work — no paid holidays, no paid vacation days, no paid sick days. Even if you get paid days off you if you’re a bus driver, cashier, nurse, etc you can’t do those jobs from home.

Back to the regional preparedness, this will test their communications.  Here are links to Coronavirus pages at St. Louis County and St. Louis City. Plus the CDC and BJC hospitals.

To me a regional approach would be one website where a resident could put in their zip code so they could find out who to contact. Such a website could be helpful in case of natural disasters, voter information, etc. Include every county that’s part of the St. Louis region on both sides of the Mississippi River.

It’s easy to have low expectations — I just hope we’re wrong.

— Steve Patterson

 

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