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Intensive care units still scarce after COVID-19 surge

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:32 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:28 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - The Mississippi Department of Health has requested some federal teams helping at hospitals be expanded, including the team in North Mississippi.

Going into a new month, health officials want to be encouraged by possible stabilizations of COVID-19 numbers, but they say remnants of the case surge we saw in August will likely follow them into September.

“August has been our most significant month in the number of cases,” Mississippi State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said.

Numbers showing the contagiousness of the dominating delta strain of COVID-19.

  • 85,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi throughout August, shattering the winter peak of 63,000 cases.
  • 838 patients died of the virus in the state’s hospitals, whereas two months earlier the number was 76.

“We can’t let our guard down. We have a lot more coronavirus to go through before we can get back to where we were previously,” Mississippi Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

A sign of hope, vaccinations rose in the time more people were being admitted into the hospital.

Last week nearly 74,000 shots were administered. Now 1.2 million people in Mississippi are fully vaccinated.

But efforts took a hit as health departments closed vaccination locations as Hurricane Ida and its remnants hit the state, all but one are back open.

Time will tell if the natural disaster will affect the trajectory of the pandemic in the state.

“One of the things the storms did too was disrupt activities like social activities that people would normally be engaged in. So it’s going to be hard to determine what kind of level of transmission there may be because of the storm,” Dr. Byers said.

While health officials say hospital numbers have become stable, they’re still high. Around 1,500 COVID-19 patients in hospitals and only 13 ICU beds available.

More than 2,900 cases were reported on Wednesday and another 81 deaths.

The New York Times reports Mississippi has the second-highest deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the country.

An uphill battle facing the state as a new season approaches.

And a majority of the people affected by the virus in Mississippi are unvaccinated.

Only one percent of cases and 13 percent of hospitalization and deaths have been in the vaccinated.

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