Are hospitals feeling any relief as COVID-19 numbers drop in Mississippi?

Are hospitals feeling any relief as COVID-19 numbers drop in Mississippi?

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -In Mississippi, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized has dropped by more than 300 in the last three weeks.

St. Dominic’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric McVey says they went from about 75 COVID patients at the height of the surge to less than half of that now.

“We have been able to close an ICU pod as well as a medical unit to COVID and release it for regular use," said McVey.

There are fewer patients but also fewer nurses than they had in July. McVey says as other southern states also saw a surge, they started looking for help.

“Recruiting nurses at salaries well beyond what any nurses could get in this market. We’ve lost 15-20 nurses to travel. That’s bad because that puts the stress back on those who stay home. They’re having to work extra shifts... one can only do that for so long.”

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is still at full capacity. As they’ve seen fewer COVID patients, their non-COVID patients have increased.

“So today our number for today is 70," said UMMC Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Dr. LouAnn Woodward. "At one point we were up as high as 110. But that means that we’re able to then take some beds that we had reserved and slotted for COVID patients and to use those for patients that are not COVID.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward says it’s been an encouraging downward trend but she adds it’s not time to declare victory but hang onto what we’re doing.

“I do have concerns like many others that following the labor day holiday, following schools getting back into session and people trying to attend sporting events...that we may see an uptick. But what we’re seeing right now are numbers that look better than a month and six weeks ago. And I think that’s a testament to the efforts that so many people in Mississippi are now embracing or perhaps not embracing but at least tolerating."

One Mississippi hospital had a big milestone last week. Although their numbers have since changed, OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville shared the news Friday to Facebook.

For the first time since April, we have ZERO COVID patients and no suspected patients in our hospital! Keep up the good work, and continue to #maskup #socialdistance and #washyourhands this holiday weekend!

Posted by OCH Regional Medical Center on Friday, September 4, 2020

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.