Photo Credit: University of Mississippi Medical Center

The health care system in Mississippi is receiving reinforcements through a request to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) by M.S. Department of Health.  

Today the Mississippi Department of Health is reporting a three day tally of 7,839 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, 52 deaths, and 170 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

In a statement, UMMC acknowledged the worsening COVID-19 situation in Mississippi. Last week saw record numbers of newly identified cases and hospitalizations – including pediatric cases – and the need for ICUs have been at all-time highs for weeks.

Mississippi hospitals, health care providers and public health officials are doing all we can to respond to the growth in cases and number of people whose COVID-19 symptoms require medical care, but they welcome any assistance.

Last week a unit of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical personnel were sent to the state by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the request of the MSDH.

This Disaster Medical Assistance Team of about three dozen health care professionals made it possible to set up a mobile field hospital – a state asset that is a collaboration between us, the State Department of Health, the Office of the Governor and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency – in Garage B.

This respiratory therapy facility in Garage B has already had a positive impact on UMMC and other hospitals in Mississippi that need help in dealing with this active surge of patients with COVID-19.

In the coming days, an additional tent will be established next to the current one in Garage B where people who are positive for COVID-19 can receive monoclonal antibody treatment.

Yesterday the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced that Samaritan’s Purse, in collaboration with UMMC, the Office of the Governor, MSDH and MEMA will deploy an Emergency Field Hospital and a team of specialized medical staff to provide supplementary ICU capacity in the medical center’s parking Garage C.

Samaritan’s Purse, UMMC and state agencies are monitoring the rising number of cases of COVID-19 and related hospitalizations in Mississippi. Samaritan’s Purse has stated that they are ready to fill any additional staffing needs and support.

Last week at a press conference, Reeves stated he is focused on filling staffing concerns within hospitals as well as making sure they have the proper equipment they need in order to continue operations.

Mississippi has requested primarily staffing as the state has lost around 2,000 health care professionals within the last year. Three hospitals have requested 65 physicians, 920 nurses, 41 CRNAs, 59 advanced practice nurses, 34 physician assistants, 239 respiratory technicians and 20 EMT paramedics. This would open up more than 700 med-surge beds and 200+ ICU beds.

Reeves stated that his office made the initial call to Samaritan’s Purse on Monday and official request for additional assistance by MSDH through MEMA on Wednesday.

“My number one goal from day one of this pandemic has always been to protect the integrity of our health care system,” stated Governor Tate Reeves. “The current phase of the pandemic seems more and more like a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” – as the Delta variant has had very few breakthrough cases amongst those who have “gotten the shot” – but the goal remains the same: ensure everyone that can get better with quality care receives that quality care!”