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‘We cannot look at this as a victory or a celebration, too many lives have been lost’ | St. Louis County Executive on first day of reopening

In St. Louis County, 335 people have died due to complications related to the coronavirus

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Restrictions related to COVID-19 are beginning to ease in the St. Louis area.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page held his first of three weekly briefings on Monday. May 18 is the beginning of the first phase of reopening the county.

Page said overwhelming cooperation from residents in the community has gotten us to where we are today. However, he also said to not look at the first phase of reopening as a victory.

“We cannot look at this as a victory or a celebration. Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been injured with family members becoming sick,” Page said.

In St. Louis County, 335 people have died due to complications related to the coronavirus.

“We cannot let this gradual reopening be looked at as normal; it’s really far from it,” Page said.

Crazy Bowls & Wraps has the neon "open" sign lit at its University City dining room, and owner Keith Kitsis said he's learned from the recent reopening of the St. Charles County locations that this will be a gradual process.

"It feels good to kind of get things back a little more normal," Kitsis said. "We're taking it kind of step-by-step and seeing how customers respond to it and trying to get the business back to a normal state."

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As some businesses are allowed to reopen on May 18, some are choosing not to.

Gyms are among one of the places not allowed to reopen during the first phase.

“We’re following the guidance of health officials,” Page said.

Page said the county will be working with gym owners in the coming days to come up with a pathway to move forward. He said the county has at least one meeting set up this week.

“We’re sensitive to their concerns and we want to see them reopen, too and we’ll have a plan to do so safely, in a way that protects their customers and employees,” Page said.

Page said guidelines for summer day camps will be coming later this week.

The importance of testing continues to be one of Page’s priorities at his briefings.

“We will continue to expand testing,” Page said. “With more testing in our community, we can expect the number of cases of COVID-19 to increase. We will be watching this very closely.”

Page said the county will monitor negative and positive tests along with hospital admissions and listen to our hospital systems and task force when it comes to making any further decisions on reopening.

Last week, Page said as the county gradually reopens, he doesn’t expect to see a spike in cases, but he does expect a bump. He said with more testing, there will be more cases. And with more people moving around the county, the risk of transmission is higher.

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