JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - University of Mississippi Medical Center health officials discussed the state’s ongoing battle with COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, the state health department reported a record number of 3,023 new coronavirus cases. Just the day before, a total of 85 deaths were reported, which is the state’s highest number of COVID-19 deaths.
During the press conference, UMMC’s Vice Chancellor Dr. LouAnn Woodward discussed how social gatherings during the holidays have affected, and continue to affect, the surge in new cases and deaths. She also said hospitals across the state are experiencing a “peak number” of hospitalized patients.
“Do we think we have hit our ultimate high in all of these numbers? Sadly, we don’t,” Dr. Woodward said.
Woodward projected conditions will worsen in January and February, as the current numbers reflect the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
“I think what we have seen over the Thanksgiving holidays into the fall, and certainly over Christmas, does not bode well for the next few weeks or months,” Dr. Woodward said. “We are really bracing ourselves, in fact, for things to be even worse over the next couple of weeks moving into the January/February timeframe.”
Woodward said “good news” is not to be expected in the near future as hospitals continue to remain full. She did offer some hope as she said the state’s health care system has not entered into “Crisis Mode”, but they are prepared for it to happen.
“We are not at that point, but we are talking about that and trying internally to be as ready as we can,” Dr. Woodward said. “There is a limit to the resources we have available, and based on what we’re seeing right now we will get to a point where that limit is hit.”
Health officials then discussed there is a “System of Care” in place, as hospitals throughout the state are moving patients to different locations for the highest quality of care.
It was also revealed that about 4,200 healthcare workers at UMMC were administered the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be given to healthcare personnel, essential workers, residents in nursing homes, and those over the age of 75 in the upcoming weeks.
While vaccinations are a promising sign that the pandemic could be over soon, health officials are warning Mississippians to remain vigilant as conditions are expected to worsen in the upcoming weeks and months.