‘Absolutely worn out’: Spike in COVID-19 cases once again impacting Mississippi’s health care system
Published 8:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2021
With the low coronavirus vaccination rate in Mississippi, the Delta variant is continuing to spread through the state at an alarming rate.
There are 28 hospitals in Mississippi that have already reached their maximum intensive care unit capacity.
Therefore, to relieve some of the stress on the healthcare industry, Mississippi state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said on Wednesday that once again, an order will be put in place requiring all of Mississippi’s licensed hospitals to participate in the Mississippi COVID-19 System of Care Plan.
The order will go into effect on Thursday, July 29.
“In parts of our state, hospitals are struggling to accommodate the acute clinical demands that they are facing in the recent hospitalizations, so consistent with the COVID-19 System of Care Plan, we will enact a COVID-19 rotation to ensure a proper assignment of patients to an appropriate hospital,” Byers said.
The order will remain in effect until Aug. 15. In addition, beginning Aug. 1, hospitals will have to delay certain elective procedures that require overnight hospitalization, he said.
While this new surge of coronavirus cases is stressing hospital facilities, officials say it is also taking a toll on the staff. Mississippi has lost many of its nurses over the past year, who have taken jobs in other states.
“This has become an enormous challenge and one reason this phase of the pandemic — the Delta surge — is going to be more challenging than before is from the hospital resource perspective,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.
“We have in many ways absolutely worn out our health professionals, especially nurses. I hear from them every day who say, ‘I’m just so burned out. I can’t believe I am having to go through this again,’” Dobbs said, adding he is afraid some nurses are being driven away because the work is so exhausting.
“This is the fourth wave of hospitalization we have seen, and there is only so much we can expect from people to put up with, and we are putting a lot more stress on them now,” he said.
Unfortunately, he said, until more people become vaccinated, COVID-19 cases will continue to grow.
“We are seeing a massive rise now and school is just getting ready to start and if you look at the trajectory of our rise, it’s not a slope — it’s a cliff. It’s an upward cliff and there is no turning downward,” Dobbs said.
“We are going to be in a tough time for a while,” Byers said.