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For the first time since June, SLU Hospital has no COVID-19 patients on ventilators | News Headlines

ST. LOUIS ( — Empty beds and more importantly empty ventilators; it means hope for the doctors, nurses and therapists who’ve worked tirelessly over the last year.

“We’ve had 8-10 people on ventilators since March. We had a lull in June right before summer and then it was just up. Now we’re down to zero which is awesome,” said Delores Griffin, the director of respiratory care at SLU Hospital.

For the first time since June, they don’t have any patients on ventilators. For respiratory therapist Christopher Davies, it means things are moving in the right direction.

“These last 365 days have been rough. These work days have been busier than normal,” Davies said. “Everyone take a sigh of relief and keep plugging on.”

Monthly average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the St. Louis region

Month Average COVID-19 hospitalization
April, 2020 490
May, 2020 354
June, 2020 162
July, 2020 208
August, 2020 277
September, 2020 273
October, 2020 318
November, 2020 725
December, 2020 873
January, 2021 682
February, 2021 357

Davies has seen the sickest of the sick during this pandemic.

“Sick patient after sick patient and seemingly not being able to fix what it is,” he said of the days of hopelessness. Something he’s never felt in his 15-year career.

Just before Thanksgiving, News 4 took you inside the COVID-19 ward of the ICU at SLU. Four months later, the difference is in the numbers.

On November 30, there were 876 COVID-19 patients at St. Louis area hospitals. The number on Wednesday was down to 234.

“This is partly because of the vaccinations, people wearing mask more compared to then and probably some immunity in the community due to COVID infection itself,” Dr. Ghassan Kamel said.

Those dropping numbers are why we’re starting to see restrictions ease. St Louis City and County are allowing bars and restaurants to stay open later and Lincoln County put an end to their mask mandate. But doctors say we still need to take caution.

“I still think it’s not the time to loosen up the masking and everything,” said Dr. Kamel. But he does believe we’re getting close. “Towards the end of summer, beginning of fall, we should start to feel a difference at last in the community.”

Here’s where people in the St. Louis bi-state area can find coronavirus vaccine information: 

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