The Talon

The Student News Site of Rockwood Summit High School

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COVID-19 rapidly rising in Missouri and St. Louis County

As of Nov. 19, there are 266,187 reported cases of COVID-19 and 3,591 deaths due to the virus within Missouri, according to the New York Times. 

There have been 39,705 cases of COVID-19 in St. Louis County, and 914 deaths. Over the past seven days, there have been 3,999 new cases, with a daily average of 571. The 3,999 number represents about 10% of the total cases in St. Louis County, which recorded its first case back in early March. 

Henceforth, COVID-19 seems to be drastically rising again as affirmed by Sandra Schulten, a nurse at St. Clare Hospital. She said that while things were previously returning to normal within her work environment, she has recently witnessed an increase in patients with the virus.

“Our floor, which is the cardiac floor, got back to doing our job with cardiac patients. They were doing surgeries again. Things were falling back into place with that,” said Schulten. “Now, it’s a half-and-half kind of thing. We’re having surgeries, but my floor seems to be mixed because over the weekend, I had nine COVID patients, three different ones each night, so our floor was more COVID than it was cardiac.”

Senior Jill Gardner’s mom contracted the virus, experiencing severe symptoms, causing her to be hospitalized at St. Clare Hospital for several days. Gardner and the rest of her family were quarantined for about two and a half weeks with the only other person to get infected being Gardner’s step-mom, who was not hospitalized and recovered within around 10 days. 

“My mom experienced headaches, loss of taste and smell, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. She went to the hospital because she was struggling to breathe and needed fluids and medicine. My family and I were unable to see her while she was there and even when she was home. I was isolated in my room the entire time. I ate, slept, and did school all in my room. I only left my room for food and the bathroom,” Gardner said.

Even with an increase in the spread of COVID-19, various schools have decided to send their students back to in-person learning, including the Rockwood School District. On Nov. 4, sixth through eighth graders were sent back to the middle schools. However, as of Nov. 18, there are 119 students and 12 staff members quarantined at Rockwood South Middle School. 

Junior Abigail Skelly’s brother, who is in the seventh grade, currently has to quarantine for 10 to 14 days due to being exposed to another student with a sick family member. Since her brother has not shown symptoms of the virus, the rest of her family does not have to quarantine, and Skelly went back to in-person learning when the high school returned on Nov. 12. Although, she said she believes it will be difficult to contain the spread of the virus at the high school. 

“I struggled with learning virtually, and I think being in-person is a better option for me. Also, I can actually talk to people in person and socialize,” Skelly said. “I’ve heard there are a lot of cases at the middle school, and with a bigger student body at the high school, it’s probably going to be difficult to contact-trace and contain the spread.”

Gardner also went back to in-person learning on Nov. 12 despite stating that she was concerned about returning. Overall, she said the virus needs to be taken more seriously.

“I will be going back to school; however, I am very anxious about it. As someone who has been personally affected by the virus, it makes me very frustrated to see people who don’t take it seriously,” Gardner said. “It’s definitely not just a cold and needs to be taken seriously. I think everyone should wear a mask in public and limit their exposure to seeing lots of people. It’s important for not only your health, but the health of those you are around.”

In response to the rise in cases, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced new restrictions on Nov. 13. For four weeks, beginning Nov. 17, people in St. Louis County will only be able to leave home to go to work or school, to exercise, seek medical care, or shop for goods or supplies. Private gatherings of more than 10 people are to be limited. Bars and restaurants will be closed to inside patrons, but outside dining and take-out will still be available. While the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force has called on Governor Mike Parson to take steps to limit the spread of the virus, like issuing a mask mandate, as stated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Parson has reiterated his support for “local control” and urged Missourians to “take personal responsibility.” 

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Taya Abraham, Of The Talon Staff

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