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Doctors continue to sound the alarm about Mississippi’s COVID-19 trends ahead of Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov. 23, 2020 at 7:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Monday was not the first time doctors around the state have sounded the alarm. But this time, they’re concerned about the intensity of the spike and what will happen if nothing is changed.

Nearly 2,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in Mississippi on Saturday. Those are the kinds of records healthcare leaders never wanted to see the state break.

“What went through my mind was, it’s happening,” said Dr. Jennifer Bryan, Mississippi State Medical Association Board of Trustees Chair. “And this is the thing that we didn’t want to see happen but it is.”

This go-around, it’s different because it’s not the unknown. Nurses like Lacey Ward know all too well what an increase in COVID-19 patients looks and feels like.

“I’ve never questioned my job or being a nurse until this summer when the numbers were so bad,” explained UMMC ER nurse Lacey Ward. “It made me question if this is what I’m really meant to do because it was so defeating to come in and have so many people that were so sick and they were dying and couldn’t be with their loved ones.”

UMMC is operating at capacity. It’s not all COVID patients but there are more of them than they had last week.

“Here at this medical center, in this hospital, we could not handle a surge of a whole lot more patients coming at us,” noted UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the school of medicine Dr. LouAnn Woodward.

Meanwhile, a holiday that’s usually marked by family gatherings looms.

“People are getting tired, just weary of all of the difficulties within their social realm and they’re letting their guard down,” said Dr. Alan Jones, UMMC assistant vice chancellor for clinical affairs.

As cases rise and the holiday nears, testing is on the rise.

“We were seeing about maybe 200 a day and Friday we did almost 450 test in our system,” explained Dr. Amy Hollman, medical director at MEA Medical Clinics Spillway location. “So, it’s more than doubled in the last few weeks.”

But don’t mistake a negative test for an all clear for a family gathering.

“Just because they test negative today doesn’t mean that they would test negative two days from now, especially if they’ve been out in the community,” noted Hollman.

Dr. Woodward is also renewing a call for the governor to put a statewide mask mandate back in place.

“Even with a statewide mask mandate, not 100 percent of the people are going to comply,” said Woodward. “You’ll still have people who don’t comply. But I think we have some reasonable evidence to believe that the county-by-county approach is not working. It’s maybe helping but it’s certainly not doing what we need it to do.”

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