Mississippi hospitals remain overburdened as flood of COVID-19 cases continues

Published 12:07 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mississippi’s hospitals continue to run at maximum capacity Thursday as high numbers of sick COVID-19 coronavirus patients pour into the state’s emergency rooms and a lack of available, staffed beds leave hundreds of patients waiting in ERs for critical care beds to become available.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported state hospitals were caring for 1,638 confirmed COVID-19 patients on Wednesday with another 45 patients suspected of having COVID-19, but who had not been confirmed by a test.

That figure is slightly below the record high set on August 20 of 1,667 patients.

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Of the patients hospitalized Wednesday, 472 were in ICU beds and 325 were on ventilators, the state reported.

Dr. Jim Craig with MSDH reported that Wednesday morning, their computer system showed 15 ICU beds available in the state, but that at the same time hospitals reported that 228 patients were being held in emergency rooms.

Of the emergency room holds, 63 were awaiting ICU beds, meaning the 15 available rooms each had more four patients in line for the bed. Craig said 31 of those patients had COVID-19.

“Effectively, almost every day we have no beds,” Craig said. “If you think about it, as a bed comes open there is someone waiting for that bed, a number of people waiting for that bed in other parts of the state. It may show a bed is available, but that bed is just waiting for the next patient to arrive.”