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UMMC health experts preparing for ‘tidal wave’ of patients

“We have teams working literally as hard as they can all day and everyday.”
Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With the number of coronavirus cases climbing daily, a team of health experts with The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) are taking action now to prepare for what’s to come.

“We are bringing to bear the full force of resources that we have to address this,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine.

UMMC is preparing to face the virus the best way they know how, but the bottom line is health experts say it’s nearly impossible to prepare for a pandemic.

“This is truly something that in 50 years school aged children will be reading about this,” said Dr. Alan Jones, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine

So far one UMMC student and one UMMC nurse has tested positive for the virus. Both are at home recovering. Right now, there are currently no patients at UMMC being treated for the virus but that could quickly change.

"We are ramping up all of our planning to prepare for a tidal wave of patients we know are about to hit us. Everything from conservation from conservation of personal protective equipment to how we will deal from clinical guidance to how we will house patients to what patients we will test.

A top concern for the hospital, they are struggling with enough personal protective equipment for staff.

"Things like masks, face shields, gowns and gloves. It is all critically important.”

They are encouraging you to not visit the ER if you are showing any symptoms. Instead they are working on a Telehealth app, specifically for COVID-19, that will allow patients to enter a virtual waiting room and doctors can communicate to you.

“If we don’t do these things then the ability to care for patients will be hampered.”

Right now, the hospital is working closely with a group of scientists and physicians to offer an off-site screening and testing facility.

“We have teams working literally as hard as they can all day, everyday”

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