Mississippi hospitals in crunch as COVID-19 cases proliferate

Coronavirus

Amachi Albright, 16, of Jackson, receives his COVID-19 vaccination at the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium on the Jackson State University campus in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Albright, was reluctant to receive the vaccination, but said his father had encouraged him to receive the vaccination, but failed to inform him that he would have to receive a second dose later this summer. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s top public health official said Monday that as COVID-19 cases continue to surge with the highly contagious delta variant, no intensive care beds were available in about 20 of the state’s top-level hospitals.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, also said more than 200 people were waiting in hospital emergency rooms to be admitted, and the problem will grow worse in the coming days. The wait times affect not only people with COVID-19 but also those with other health conditions.

The state Health Department said Monday that more than 6,900 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Mississippi from Friday through Sunday.

“Keep in mind — this will translate into around 500 new hospitalizations in coming days,” Dobbs wrote on Twitter.

He said the intensive care units were full in Level 1, 2 and 3 hospitals. These include the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg and Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.

Mississippi has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation. As of Friday, the state Health Department said 35% of Mississippi residents were fully vaccinated, compared to 50% nationally.

“It was recently said nationally that the Delta variant was becoming a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,’” Republican Gov. Tate Reeves wrote Monday on Twitter. “The most recent data from Mississippi suggest the same. Talk to your doctor. Assess the risk. Do the right thing for you. Do the right thing for your family.”

Mississippi schools have been starting classes in recent weeks, some with mask mandates and some without.

The state has confirmed more than 365,000 cases of COVID-19 and about 7,650 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic started in the spring of 2020.

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