No ICU beds left in Mississippi — including Warren County

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, August 10, 2021

“We have never been in this situation and it’s getting worse every day.”  

As of Monday morning, reports showed there were no ICU beds available in Mississippi due to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

“Transfers to higher levels of care will likely be out of state,” Mississippi Department of Health Chief Medical officer and local physician Dr. Dan Edney said. “We have never been in this situation and it’s getting worse every day.” 

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The surge in hospitalizations follows after a downward trend in coronavirus cases after the arrival of vaccines in March, but with the highly transmissible Delta variant, COVID-19 is once again on the rise and it is mostly targeting those not vaccinated. 

“Dr. Dobbs is being very clear that we are at the beginning of a disaster that will likely last another two to four weeks with the death rate currently 2.2 percent of all reported cases,” Edney said. “And with over 2,000 cases being reported every day, you can see the number of deaths we’ll be seeing over the next several weeks and they will be mostly unvaccinated.”  

With more than 150 new COVID cases being added to hospitals daily, this is putting a strain on already full facilities. 

Therefore, those needing emergency room assistance or admittance to the hospital can expect long waits, Edney said. 

This surge in coronavirus cases is also affecting staffing. 

“We have a critical shortage of nurses and ICU staff statewide,” Edney said.  

In July, Dobbs stated getting vaccinated was the way out of this, and that it remains the answer to stop the spread.

Edney said, “Our message to the public is: 

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. If you’re very high risk and vaccinated more than 4 to 6 months ago, discuss with your doctor about the possible need for a booster now.
  3. If you are high-risk and developing symptoms, please get tested and if possible, ask for monoclonal antibody treatment. It’s 75-percent effective in reducing the need for hospitalization in high-risk patients and this is for vaccinated and unvaccinated. Currently, this treatment is available in Vicksburg at Medical Associates but we’re hopeful other sites will start soon.” 

 The strain of COVID-19 cases is being felt in Vicksburg and Warren County as well. Marketing Director for Merit Health River Region Leigh White said the strain is becoming a challenge for local health care professionals.

Like many areas of the country, our hospital is experiencing an increase in admissions of COVID-positive patients and challenges with staffing,” White said. “The increase in cases has necessitated operational changes, including the temporary consolidation of our critical care units. This is a fluid, day-to-day situation, and we will continue to evaluate what may be needed to support our patients, providers and staff.

“Our staff continues to rise to meet the need and we are tremendously proud of them. They remain committed to providing the best care possible, and it shows in the way they care for our patients and their families,” she said.”Our emergency room is prepared to provide care for all patients who need medical attention and patients experiencing a medical emergency are encouraged to seek care promptly.

“We encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you can. Vaccines remain the best strategy for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

There are 345 COVID patients in intensive care units across the state and 205 people on ventilators, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. The MSDH metric showing local hospital bed availability is “being revised,” according to its website.

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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