The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force expressed disappointment after Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced his coronavirus emergency order would end on Friday.
Despite rising case numbers in Missouri state and across the country due to the Omicron variant, Parson, a Republican, said on Thursday that he would let the order, which was in effect for almost two years, expire.
According to the task force’s statement, which was posted on social media, the emergency order allowed for the ability to go over licensed bed capacity in medical centers when demand required it, expanded telehealth services, and more.
“As health care providers, we will continue to do all we can to meet the burgeoning health care needs of COVID and non-COVID patients, but those efforts are made more difficult with the expiration of the emergency order,” the statement read. “While we all want the pandemic emergency to end, the sad fact is that the number of people newly infected with COVID each day now exceeds past surges.”
Statistics from the Mayo Clinic show the average positive COVID-19 test rate in Missouri has been steadily climbing over the past two months, increasing from 6.3 percent at the end of October to 15.5 percent as of December 29.
Meanwhile, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data show the state is currently averaging 3,127 new cases and four virus-related deaths per day.
The task force also reported that new hospital admissions had risen to 169 on Thursday, a record-breaking number for the state, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With the rise of the Omicron variant, many health experts around the world are worrying about the potential effects of another wave of the pandemic.
However, in the newspaper’s report, Parson said Thursday there is “no longer a need for a state of emergency,” adding that letting the order expire on New Year’s Eve would be the “final step” to “move forward as a state.”
The task force said that while it was disappointed over the expiration of the order, it would continue to work with the state’s health department to try to curb the pandemic’s spread. It also said it would recommend with the state’s Republican-dominated legislature to “reinstate many of the provisions that are essential to providing health care services during this pandemic.”
“For the greater good and the health and well-being of our families, neighbors and state, as a collective medical community, we implore the legislature to work with us,” the statement continued. “The health of our communities and sustainability of our health systems across Missouri depend on it.”