State Health Officer: ‘Things are getting worse very quickly'

State Health Officer: ‘Things are getting worse very quickly'

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is tweeting another warning, saying “Things are getting worse very quickly.”

Among the top concerns, the spike in confirmed hospitalizations. The state’s all-time record high for COVID-19 cases was recorded on July 1 with 602 patients.

Mississippi State Medical Association President Dr. Clay Hays echoes Dobbs’ concern.

“It’s definitely concerning when we reach almost maximum capacity,” said Dr. Hays. “The challenge that we face is that if we get to full capacity and people get sick, we have nowhere to put them. We are really getting tight.”

UMMC tells us four of its 20-bed ICUs are full/at capacity. St. Dominic’s chief medical officer explains that it’s not just COVID keeping capacity high.

“We’re concerned with the numbers,” said St. Dominic’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric McVey. “We are communicating among ourselves. We’re all determined to walk and chew gum at the same time… taking care of COVID patients, performing the needed services that the community needs for general health and preservation of that health.”

Dr. Hays says that’s why the state may have to revisit what’s allowed at hospitals.

“When we first saw this, we stopped doing elective procedures so we could provide capacity,” added Hays. “Unless we get on top of this, a lot of those elective things will go away again.”

Another part of the contingency plan is moving some patients around as space fills up.

“We’ve tapped into our rural hospital network because they have equipment,” said Dr. Dobbs. “They have oxygen. They have beds. They have staff.”

Recovering COVID-19 patients have been moved to 8 of the 21 rural hospitals that signed contracts for that very need. If you’re wondering about pop-up hospitals as an option, here’s what Dr. Dobbs said about that.

“A lot of people think of field hospitals as setting up ventilators in a tent and all that kind of stuff,” said Dobbs. “We can do it. We don’t want to because the outcomes will be significantly worse. There’s no denying it.”

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