Just 6 ICU beds available in entire state of Mississippi as of Weds. morning

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 1:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The state’s only level 1 trauma center is updating its COVID-19 response after several outbreaks among staff and a surge of new patients flooding the hospital.

As of August 4, the University of Mississippi Medical Center says it has 94 COVID-19 patients, 12 or 13 children.

“We’re back at this point where no one wanted to be,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC COVID-19 incident commander, vice chancellor for health affairs, and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are concerned about what is on the horizon over the next few weeks and months.”

UMMC says some patients also have to wait for beds.

“We have had moments where we have gotten about 60 patients waiting for a bed, but we usually average about 30 patients waiting for a bed,” Woodward said.

In some cases, Woodward said, patients are waiting for beds because the hospital is full, but in other cases, she says it’s due to a serious staffing shortage among nurses and other healthcare workers.

“We do have units at the hospital that are empty because we’re not able to staff them. We are trying hard to recruit staff; we are constantly assessing what we have,” she added.

Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs and COVID-19 clinical response leader, said UMMC is doing all it can with what it has.

“We are not finite resources, we can break, we can have to close, and I think we’re heading in that direction,” Jones added.

Dr. Jonathan Wilson, chief administrative officer and COVID-19 incident manager, says there were just six ICU beds available in the entire state as of Wednesday morning.

Wilson says people suffering strokes, heart attacks or traumatic injuries have limited places to go because the hospitals are so inundated with COVID patients.

“We have to find open beds for them,” he said.

The Medical Center says it’s bringing to bear its complete resources to combat the pandemic and is encouraging all who are eligible to be vaccinated.

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