UMMC officials believe ‘dark days ahead' as coronavirus case numbers rise

The University Medical Center is wary about a rise in cases ahead of the holidays, however new treatment options shine a ray of hope.

UMMC officials believe ‘dark days ahead' as coronavirus case numbers rise
UMMC mobile hospital (Source: David Kenney)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Officials at the University of Mississippi Medical Center discussed how hospitals are managing COVID-19 patients.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs said that the recent rise in coronavirus cases is bringing with it an inevitable rise in ICU patients.

However, with the daunting news of high numbers there is also good news.

There are new treatment options that will soon be made available. One of them is an antibody treatment that will be provided from the federal government.

There are also two new vaccines that may become widely available before the end of the year.

One of them, a Pfizer vaccine that was announced earlier this month. It’s been touted as highly effective. That vaccine and another may be available by mid-December.

Until those treatments and vaccines become available, Woodward said stick to what works.

Wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay away from large gatherings.

“Until we get to a point where numbers are going down and staying down then we have not turned a corner.”

Dr. Alan Jones said that these latest numbers are the largest case numbers we have seen during the pandemic. However, there have not been a spike in hospitalizations yet quite like what happened over the summer.

“This could mean that it hasn’t caught up to us yet,” said Jones.

Currently all of the ICU’s at UMMC are full with about eight to 10 patients in non-traditional ICU areas.

UMMC is also experiencing challenges in keeping hospitals staffed. Several healthcare workers are either out with COVID-19 or in quarantine because of exposure to the virus.

Jones said while there is hope, there are still “dark days ahead.” They believe that things will likely get more difficult before they get better.

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