JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) held a news conference about COVID-19 cases in Mississippi.

UPDATE: 10:30 p.m. – In three of the last five days new Coronavirus cases in Mississippi have risen above 900 in daily reports and the wave is crashing onto hospitals. 

When you follow the numbers, more infections lead to more hospitalizations and more people crowding ICU’s and ventilators. In certain parts of the state, it’s got to the point where certain surgeries are suspended. 

“My greatest fear is starting to be realized,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs told us.

At an all-time high with 648 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, Dr. Dobbs and the Department of Health are freezing elective surgeries at hospitals in Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Washington, Jones, and Forrest County where space is going scarce.

“There are people in ER’s now across the state that can’t get a bed,” Dr. Dobbs explained. “They can’t get transferred where they need to go, we’re sending them out of state. It’s not universal but especially in the Jackson Metro it’s always very tight.”

Effective July 9. until further notice this means surgeries for situations non-life threatening and can’t be done in less than a few hours must be put off.  For emergencies there are exceptions. 

“It’s happening now, this is not a future state this is a now state,” Dr. Dobbs continued. “A lot of elective surgeries you can do for a patient to get in and go at a center that’s all fine. But if it’s a serious surgery that’s an elective surgery that’s going to require hospitalization than those will not be allowed.”

Analyzing the 957 new cases, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Buyers detected most came from over the Fourth of July weekend as careless behavior stirred up this mess. 

“We can’t continue to be surprised that folks get into groups and they’re not social distancing and not wearing masks,” Dr. Buyers said. “Then we’re going to see a bump in cases. After Memorial Day we started seeing an increase in our number of cases. We may be seeing the same thing after the Fourth of July.”

“We seem to be willing to sacrifice nursing homes and schools to go to a party,” Dr. Dobbs added. “It is absolutely phenomenal to me. We don’t have enough patients, hurts my heart a little bit.”

Health experts also shed some light on people in long term care facilities where 50% of the new 44 deaths came from. We’ve jumped from 70 to 118 long term care outbreaks as of Tuesday. 

The agency reported 957 new cases, along with 44 additional deaths on Tuesday.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announced the agency released a public health order that would limit elective surgeries for some counties. The counties include Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Jones, Washington and Forrest counties.

MSDH will live stream the news press conference on its Facebook page.