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St. Louis hospitals packed as virus cases climb

December 22, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis-area hospitals continue to be stretched thin while battling the coronavirus pandemic, local health officials announced Tuesday.

Bed capacity at hospitals in the St. Louis area is at about 82%, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. Intensive care units are at 90% capacity.

Cases continue to rise in the St. Louis area, and at least another 16 St. Louis County police officers tested positive for the virus in the past week. According to the department, there have been at least 145 confirmed cases at the agency so far this year.

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Statewide, 17,778 new confirmed cases have been reported in the past week, according to state health department data. That’s about 2,540 new cases a day on average.

State health officials on Tuesday urged Missourians, including healthy people, to get tested for the virus. The agency asked those without symptoms to consider getting tested to help stop the virus’ spread through asymptomatic carriers and to prevent unknowingly sickening friends and loved ones over the holidays.

The University of Missouri-Columbia on Tuesday also announced most students living on campus must be tested for the virus before moving back after the winter break. Students who recently tested positive won’t need to be retested.