October 19, 2020

Mississippi’s largest hospital: ‘We are full,’ urges people to follow coronavirus rules

Mississippi hospital leaders said surging COVID-19 coronavirus patients are overwhelming a number of hospitals in the state.

“We are seeing in Mississippi, an increase in the number of cases. We are seeing an increase in the number of deaths. We are seeing an increase in the number of hospitalizations,” the University of Mississippi Medical Center Vice Chancellor LouAnn Woodard said. “We are full. Many days in the last few weeks. We have had more patients than we have rooms. We’ve been holding patients in the emergency rooms and other places.”

Woodward said the solution isn’t a question of going back to a full state lockdown, but that Mississippians must change their ways to stop things from getting worse.

“Right now, we are seeing our largest surge of patients,” she said. “I am convinced, we cannot shelter in place through the duration of this pandemic. I am also convinced that what we’re doing now is not working. It is not safe, it is not smart and it is not effective.

“We went from shelter in place to wide open,” she said. “What we have got to find is the right place in that middle ground. We have got to find a place to live … live with this virus for the foreseeable future.”

“Things are not normal, and we cannot behave as if they are,” she said.

Woodward was joined by other hospital and state healthcare leaders at a news conference.

The Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said people need to be aware that impact of the virus is going to get worse if Mississippians don’t take it seriously.

“Not only is it here; it’s gonna get worse,” Dobbs said. “Yesterday, five hospitals of our biggest hospitals in the state had zero ICU beds, zero. An additional four had 5 percent or less, an additional 3 had less than 10 percent.

“Our biggest medical institutions who take care of our sickest patients have no room to take care of additional folks,” he said. “Now is the time for the hospitals have to step up and counter the impacts of reckless social behavior.”

Dobbs said increasingly Mississippi hospitals, particularly in the Jackson area, are running out of room and fears it will be worse in the coming days.

“We’re sending people out of state all the time because Mississippi hospitals cannot take care of Mississippi patients,” he said.