This State "Cannot Take Care" of Its Own COVID Patients, Official Says

The state's largest hospitals don't have the capacity to treat patients in need of critical care.

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When it comes to the current state of the pandemic in the U.S., things continue to look grim in hot-spot areas in the south and west regions of the country. The number of new cases has been surging in the last month, forcing doctors and medical professionals in several states to face an unsettling problem: hospitals at, or over, full capacity. And the situation is as dire in Mississippi as it is anywhere else in the country—five of the state's largest hospitals have run out of ICU beds for critical patients, The New York Times reported on July 9.

"Mississippi hospitals cannot take care of Mississippi patients," Thomas Dobbs, MD, the state's health officer, said in a press conference on July 9, the Mississippi Free Press reported. Dobbs was joined by a handful of the state's other top health experts, who echoed his concerns about the gravity of the situation.

"At the (University of Mississippi) Medical Center, we are full. Many days, we have more patients than we have rooms," said LouAnn Woodward, MD, vice chancellor at UMMC, according to the Mississippi Free Press.

Two distraught doctors in hospital
Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

The paper also noted that Mississippi health officials have reported more than 700 additional cases per day since July 1, up significantly from the average of about 400 in June. On July 9, there were 1,031 cases new cases—bringing the state's total to nearly 35,000—and 11 new deaths, according to the latest data from the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).

In the New York Times article, a similar situation is said to be occurring at hospitals in outbreak areas like California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and South Carolina, which all face the potential reality of hospitals overflowing for longer than they did in New York, an early epicenter of the pandemic.

"When hospitals and health care assistants talk about surge capacity, they're often talking about a single event," John Sinnott, chairman of internal medicine at the University of South Florida and chief epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital, told The New York Times. "But what we're having now is the equivalent of a bus accident a day, every day, and it just keeps adding."

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In desperate hope to avoid such a horrible scene, which would put patients and health care workers in even greater danger, Woodward pleaded with the people of Mississippi to do their part.

"We are speaking for the health-care workforce of the state of Mississippi," she said in the press conference. "We are begging, and we are asking for the people of Mississippi to get on board with us." And for how other parts of the country are dealing with coronavirus, The COVID Outbreak Is Worse in This State Than It Is in Entire Countries.

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