A catastrophe that countless disease and medical professionals warned about has now come true.
Hospitals are running out of ICU beds. Mississippi’s five largest hospitals have no intensive care unit beds available as of Wednesday due to a surge of coronavirus cases. Four other hospitals have five percent or less available.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Alan Jones, stated that he was awakened by a phone call at 4 AM Tuesday because there were so many patients and hospital staff didn’t know where to put them all.
In the country, Mississippi has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus case rates. Compounding problems, Mississippi is also one of the states with the fewest healthcare resources.
The shortage not only interferes with hospitals’ abilities to take care of sick COVID patients, but also to care for patients with unrelated illnesses and emergencies as well. Major trauma victims are commonly transferred to UMMC for proper care, but according to their emergency care doctor, Dr. Ustav Nandi, the hospital is not currently able to accept any patients from other hospitals.
According to Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Health Officer, facilities have begun having to send patients to out of state hospitals for care. He stated that he only expects the situation to get worse. Where two months ago, 150 people a day were making appointments to be tested at the Department of Health’s free testing site, now the state is testing upwards of 875 a day, as of Wednesday.
State health officials are once again urging people to wear masks when in public, as it has been proven effective and reducing the spread of the virus.