COVID-19 patient numbers reach a new low at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

An empty COVID-19 ICU bed at the Memorial Hospital at Gulfport is a rare sight. On Monday, there were eight of them.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 7:31 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 7:32 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - An empty COVID-19 ICU bed at the Memorial Hospital at Gulfport is a rare sight. On Monday, there were eight of them.

The hospital has the lowest COVID-19 patient count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It almost feels surreal,” said ICU manager Whitney Sutton. “We’re used to this unit being full and today we only have three, so absolutely a huge thank you to the Coast for getting vaccinated and doing what they can to wear their mask and just be safe.”

That number of critical patients now stands at four, but the 12-bed intensive care unit has been at or close to capacity for months, and at one time had 16 patients. Since the middle of January, the number of COVID-19 patients has been steadily dropping across the state.

“Largely, I would attribute it to us being able to get vaccinated. That’s made a tremendous difference in not only our census but also our own staff getting sick,” Sutton said.

The hospital’s regular COVID-19 wing hit an all-time low of six patients Monday.

The staff at Memorial, like at all healthcare facilities, has been under tremendous strain treating a flood of COVID-19 patients. That strain hit a peak after Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“There were days where some people felt like they were at their wit’s end, crying. They were just very, very emotionally drained,” she said.

The staff hopes they will not see those days again.

“We’re hoping that it stays this course and that we don’t have those huge heights and that people continue to be able to come home to their families,” Sutton said.

While the steady decrease in patients is good news, it does not mean that they are out of the woods yet.

“Continue to wear your mask. If you haven’t already gotten vaccinated, please get vaccinated. I know the Mississippi Department of Health is steadily coming out each and every week with dates and times for people to get vaccinated. Don’t be deterred by so many people signing up and not being able to get in. Just keep trying and keep doing your part,” Sutton said.

Monday's COVID census at Memorial Hospital was the lowest it's been since the pandemic started with 4 people in ICU and 6 patients in the regular COVID wing.

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