(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) State officials say hospitalizations in Missouri are on the decline, but in northwest Missouri, it's the opposite.
“We were pretty much 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 cases and today the website says 19 cases," St. Joseph mayor Bill McMurray said.
On May 4, the city began reopening with the rest of the state. A day later, Mosaic Life Care reported a total of four patients in the hospital system for COVID-19 care and monitoring.
This week that number jumped up to 20; 19 in St. Joseph and 1 in Albany, Mo.
“I would sure be a lot happier if we were going in the other direction on the number of hospitalizations,” McMurray said.
There are some positive indicators that St. Joseph is going in the right direction, like the community-wide testing held for Buchanan County recently.
“On this sort of randomized testing, we only had a two percent prevalence so that’s good,'' McMurray said.
However, the mayor says hospitalizations are the key metric to watch.with a deadline around the corner.
The citywide order for social distancing, regulations for business and limits on group sizes expires at the end of the month.
"My recommendation after talking to several doctors yesterday on a conference call is that we extend it another two weeks," McMurray said.
After speaking with local doctors, the mayor says it's too risky to open up the city further.
"As the docs were saying yesterday on the conference call, I mean these are really sick people who are in ICU and they’re very lucky to have survived," McMurray said. "This is a very serious illness."
The mayor says he has no intention of asking the council to close the city back down, require face masks or mandate the Lake of the Ozarks partiers to stay home.
“I hate to make all kinds of rules and rules and rules and rules. There is an element of personal responsibility here that’s what I’m really trying to appeal to in everybody but come on, pardon me for saying the cliche but we're all in this together even though we are six feet apart."
The city council will hold a work session Thursday, May 28 at 4PM.