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Critical care patients moving to hospitals in central, north Miss. in wake of Hurricane Ida

Mississippi emergency officials said they’re better prepared for Hurricane Ida than they were...
Mississippi emergency officials said they’re better prepared for Hurricane Ida than they were for Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago. However, unlike 16 years ago, the state is also fighting a pandemic.
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Mississippi emergency officials said they’re better prepared for Hurricane Ida than they were for Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.

However, unlike 16 years ago, the state is also fighting a pandemic.

The storm caused many patients to be moved around in hospitals that are already dealing with capacity issues. Mississippi Department of Health said Saturday that critical care patients were being moved from hospitals in the harder hit southern part of the state to those in Central and North Mississippi.

Over the last several days, facility managers across Baptist Medical Group made sure their emergency preparedness plans were in place.

“The biggest things are water, power, food, and oxygen,” said Mac Flynt, administrative director at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson.

Mississippi hospitals are seeing some of the highest patient numbers since the start of the pandemic. More than 1,500 COVID-19 patients alone are hospitalized across the state with more than 300 on ventilators.

“Inside the patient rooms and those specifically where they’d be on ventilators, there are emergency outlets,” said Flynt. “They’re actually red. So, at any point in time there are ventilators in use, it’s going to be hooked up to emergency backup power, should there be a blink or loss in power.”

He said over the last few days, things like generator power and the water supply were checked to make sure it was all in working order in case of a power outage. These are parts of preparedness plans across most of Baptist Medical Group that differ a bit from those 16 years ago.

“This was one of the results of Hurricane Katrina. We were not on our own water system. So, we did suffer issues with water and being able to consume water. We’re now on our own water system at Baptist,” Flynt said.

The threat of storms and rain closed all Mississippi Department of Health vaccination locations across the state Monday, with sites in the southern and central part of the state likely to remain closed on Tuesday.

Last week, nearly 74,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered.

With the state’s approved pre-disaster emergency measures declaration, it allows more federal help to come to Mississippi, some in the form of hospital staff.

Along with Baptist Desoto, Action News 5 also reached out to Methodist Olive Branch about preparedness plans. In a statement, the hospital said:

Methodist Olive Branch is here to meet the needs of Northwest Mississippi, the Mid-South and the state of Mississippi. If called upon in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Methodist Olive Branch would assist in the call for help.”

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