Governor: Pandemic placing Mississippi’s healthcare system at risk


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi leaders, including Governor Tate Reeves and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said the trend of coronavirus cases in the state has been higher than the state has seen in the last three months.

UPDATE: Government and health experts are warning Mississippi if you do not follow the department of health and CDC guidelines, recent spikes in COVID-19 cases could lead to staying at home orders returning. 

We have seen three straight days of over 650 Coronavirus infections coming in daily and hospitalizations at an all-time high. This wave could overflow into the ICU where ventilators and space are running low. 

“My friends this is not a hoax, it is a danger,” Gov. Tate Reeves stated. 

In his first briefing in several days, Gov. Reeves and Dr. Thomas Dobbs sounded the alarm with rising trends of COVID-19 in hospitals. 

“A lot of the big hospitals have zero ICU beds available on a regular basis,” Dr. Dobbs explained. “So, it’s a real challenge and it wouldn’t take a whole lot of COVID patients to overwhelm the system. We’ve had reports of people having to spend overnight in the ER to replace ICU capacity.” 

On top of non-COVID patients, those hospitalized by the virus total 579. Meanwhile, ICU stats stayed at a flat rate between 150-160 patients. But soon the rise in patients could overflow ICU and ventilator capacity if conditions worsen. 

“Having a higher number of those individuals in hospital beds is a leading indicator that it is very possible the number of ICU beds that will be needed is higher than where we are today,” Gov. Reeves said. 

Experts say the system can be saved if people just think about those vulnerable around them. Since the start of summer, the highest increase in state cases is those 18-29 exceeding 5600 infections. 

“If you will just do the little things, wear a mask, avoid large crowds,” Gov. Reeves added. “Please do not throw needless parties. We can regain control.” 

“If you’re a young person and you’re not worried about dying, but you’re going out you’re keeping somebody from visiting their grandmother in the nursing home,” Dr. Dobbs said. “Me not wearing a mask if I’m asymptomatic transmitting it’s not about me it’s about everybody.” 

In the case, Mississippi hospitals do reach capacity state leaders laid out options to move recovering patients to Camp Shelby or 21 rural hospitals contracted with the state. 

Mississippi’s recent hike is also being noticed around the nation with New York and New Jersey adding Mississippi to the list of visitors who must immediately quarantine for two weeks if they visit there for a period of time. 

On Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 653 new coronavirus cases in the state. The governor extended the state’s Safe Return Order until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6, after a recent spike in cases.

During a news conference on Wednesday, officials said their biggest concern is the state’s healthcare system. With COVDI-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and on ventilators, there is less space in hospitals.

Governor Reeves stated if necessary, he will not take a new statewide order to enforce isolation off the table.


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