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North MS Health Services Chief Medical Officer: “Unless you are critically ill, avoid visiting the emergency departments”

Dr. Jeremy Blanchard

As COVID cases continue to skyrocket and hospitalizations climb, Doctor Jeremy Blanchard, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, North Mississippi Health Services, issued a plea to the public.

He posted the following on Monday to emphasize the dire situation his hospital is facing:

I come to you today with an important, transparent and challenging message. Over the last 18 months, we have faced multiple adversities and challenges, and each time, our health care team and communities have risen to the occasion.

This morning, we face the most challenging conditions to date. Today, we are battling the most infectious version of COVID-19 we have seen with the fewest number of health care warriors here to fight this battle with us. When I arrived early this morning, we had 60 COVID-19 inpatients and 19 COVID-19 patients being cared for in the Emergency Departments because no hospital rooms are available (14 of which are in Tupelo). I am extremely concerned with our ability to handle the continual wave of new patients.

It is with transparency and urgency that I sincerely ask for your help. You MUST mask, whether you are vaccinated or not; this is the only way to stop the spread of the virus. It is essential for all who are medically able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination now. This is your best defense against a virus and situation that isn’t going to resolve itself quickly.

Lastly, unless you are critically ill, avoid visiting the Emergency Departments throughout North Mississippi Health Services. We are doing our best to care for you all, but in the very near future our best may not be good enough if COVID-19 cases continue to rise at their recent, rapid pace. We are working diligently to provide the best care for our patients as quickly as possible, but there could be a time coming soon when resources needed for your level of care are not available in our system or region.

We need your prayers, support and patience, but most importantly, we need your partnership. Mask appropriately now, get your COVID-19 vaccine and connect with your primary care provider if you have COVID-19 symptoms for consideration of monoclonal antibodies.

Thank you and may God bless you, our health care workers and our communities.

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