‘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.  

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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.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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