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What will be the impacts of Mississippi’s COVID state of emergency ending?

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Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 6:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi has been under some form of a COVID state of emergency for a year and 8 months. The governor’s office says it will be allowed to expire a week from tomorrow.

We wanted to get an idea of potential impacts of letting that state of emergency expire. We checked with MEMA that tells us it won’t impact their COVID mission. The state’s PPE stockpile is “robust” and there’s no need for a state of emergency for what they are doing.

“MEMA’s operations will continue without interruption after the expiration of the state of emergency. Our state PPE stockpile is robust. There’s no need for a state of emergency for MEMA’s COVID-19 mission.” - Malary White, MEMA Director of External Affairs.

We also checked with the Mississippi Department of Health.

“We don’t anticipate any problems or negative consequences at this time.”- Liz Sharlot, MSDH spokesperson.

And what we learned is that the main impacts to hospitals have already happened.

“The biggest two impacts and all this emergency stuff had to do with us was MED-COM which was the transfer system they enacted,” described Dr. Randy Roth, Singing River Health System Chief Medical Officer. “They disabled that several weeks ago. But we took 70 or 80 patients from a lot of different places into our system, which everybody carried the weight did. Now that’s gone.”

The second piece involves the state’s ability to bring in contracted nurses.

“When the MEMA nurses were deployed back to where they came from, we were having to close floors down because we couldn’t staff them,” said Dr. Roth. “So, just because the COVID numbers are down, our staffing shortages are not.”

As for the numbers, the seven day average keeps dropping. There were more tests given in the state last week but our test positivity rate fell. Put simply, more people are getting tested but fewer people are getting positive results. Still, Dr. Roth makes this note.

“In terms of where we’re going, I don’t think this is behind us,” said Roth. “We have two big holidays coming up in succession, back to back. And I think the folks that are not vaccinated, or people that aren’t getting booster, may open themselves up to another infection again. So, I hope people continue to social distance and do the safe and right thing.”

We also received the following comments on the impact of the state of emergency ending from other local hospitals.

“While direct questions about MSDH plans should be directed to them, we still feel that support of their System of Care is needed and keeps our state’s hospitals positioned to quickly respond in the event of a rebound in cases and hospitalizations – which is already happening in other parts of the world while the decline in numbers in the U.S. has tabled off.” - Marc Rolph, executive director of UMMC Communications.

“As of yesterday, Mississippi Baptist Medical Center has 13 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. While this recent decrease in COVID-19 cases is reassuring, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and use precautions so we can continue to see a decline in this virus in our community.” - Mississippi Baptist Medical Center.

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