On the same day that Mississippi reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases, Governor Tate Reeves held a press conference to provide the latest on the state’s response efforts.
This week, we’ve heard from healthcare experts that the state’s system is in danger of failing. Another challenge that has emerged alongside the surge of the Delta variant is staffing shortages at healthcare facilities across the state. Mississippi has 2,000 fewer healthcare professionals than it did at this time last year, so the state has requested the following resources from the federal government.
- 65 Physicians
- 920 Nurses
- 41 CRNAs
- 59 Advanced Practice Nurses
- 34 Physician Assistants
- 239 Respiratory Techs
- 20 EMT Paramedics
Should these requests be approved, Governor Reeves explained that this would open up 770 hospital beds and 235 ICU beds across the state. Additionally, the state has requested 150 ventilators from the national stockpile. The state’s request for the deployment of the USNS Comfort was denied.
UMMC has opened a 50-bed facility in its Jackson parking garage to be staffed by a federal medical disaster team and additional beds were opened up at the VA facilities in Jackson and on the Coast.
As cases, hospitalizations and ICU bed usage hit their respective peaks, Governor Reeves did highlight the effectiveness of the vaccine and stressed that he believes it represents our path out of the fourth wave.
“My mom’s been vaccinated, my dad’s been vaccinated, my wife’s been vaccinated, my grandmom has been vaccinated. I believe the vaccines are safe, I believe they are effective and I believe that they are the best tool we have moving forward to beat the virus,” he said.
He did continue to state that everyone should talk to their doctor to make the best decision for themselves and their family. While the state’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in the country, the number of administered shots has been increasing in recent weeks with the governor stating Mississippi is on pace to hit 70,000 this week.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs broke down the latest data related to deaths in Mississippi to shed light on the ongoing trend that unvaccinated individuals are at a much higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. He noted that, over the past four days, Mississippi lost:
- 4 people in their 20s, 2 of which were pregnant (0 were vaccinated)
- 10 people in their 30s (0 vaccinated)
- 12 people in their 40s (2 vaccinated)
- 17 people in their 50s & 60s (1 vaccinated)
He also explained that data shows that 2.2% of new cases will lead to deaths, 15% of those hospitalized will die, 1/3 of ICU patients will die and 2/3 of those on life support will die.
Whether you’re vaccinated or not, Dr. Dobbs expressed that you should immediately seek out the monoclonal antibody treatment if you contract COVID-19.
“If you get COVID, the first thing you do is talk to your doctor about monoclonals—even if you don’t feel bad yet. You don’t want to wait until you’re so sick that it’s not going to work for you,” Dr. Dobbs said.
Ten additional teams have been requested to help distribute this treatment across the state. Currently, 40 “centers of excellence” offer the treatment along with several other clinics.
Dr. Dobbs and other state health officials have maintained that the risks of contracting COVID-19 far outweigh any presumed risk of the vaccine.
“We have confirmed 7,500+ deaths from COVID and zero from the vaccine. We’ve had four cases of myocarditis that were mild and all of them got better, they were young adults. Myocarditis is far more common with COVID itself.”
Governor Reeves was asked several times about the possibility of a statewide mask mandate or a school-wide mandate, and he continued to state that he has no intention to do so. He also reiterated his stance that the CDC’s guidance on masking has been harmful and has had an adverse effect on vaccinations.