UMMC: ‘We are full. These non-essential gatherings are killing us.’
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - UMMC doctors made a passionate plea to the public Wednesday afternoon in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported over 2,400 coronavirus cases Wednesday.
It’s Mississippi’s highest daily total of new cases. The grave concern that I have is that people don’t understand that there’s a point you reach where you have done all you can do,” Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine said.
The state’s largest hospital said it has a total of 700 beds and 765 patients. In the Intensive Care Unit, Woodward says all 92 beds are full, 18 of which have COVID-19 patients. There are 65 additional COVID-19 patients outside the ICU, UMMC says.
As a result, the hospital says it’s holding patients that need admittance, in other areas.
“It doesn’t give us the flexibility to bring more patients in. Two or three beds may open up today, but they’re only open for a short amount of time and then they’re gone,” Woodward said “The two most common places for back-ups is the emergency room and the PACU or post-anesthesia care unit and what that does is backs up the surgical cases... and eventually the waiting room backs up.”
Nurses and staff are tired and frustrated and there is a sense of bewilderment, because they are so overwhelmed, UMMC says.
Dr. LouAnn Woowdard shared her frustrations in a series of tweets via Twitter.
In one tweet, Woodward said, “Those of us in health care are numb, frustrated and so very tired.”
She also said the number of hospitalized COVID patients in the state is at a new high. Hospital resources, such as hospital beds and nurses, ‘are finite.’
Woodward said there is ‘no simple fix’ to this problem, but she says everyone can do their part by following a simple rule: ‘Wear a damn mask!’
She also encouraged people to not gather in groups or crowds, to wash their hands and stay home if they are sick.
“At this time, there is no simple fix for the current situation but we can ALL do something: “Wear a damn mask!” Don’t gather in groups or crowds. Keep your hands clean. And stay home if you are sick.”
Despite Woodward urging the Governor Tate Reeves to reinstate a statewide mask mandate, Mississippi does not have one.
However, Reeves has placed 54 of Mississippi’s 82 counties under a mask mandate. He said that a statewide mask mandate would not make more people wear a mask.
Right before the Thanksgiving break, Mississippi health officials warned residents of the devastating effects social gatherings would have on the healthcare system and Woodward fears what lies ahead.
“I don’t think we’ve realized the numbers we will see as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday. Everybody can do something and everybody can play a part and I encourage everyone to do the right thing,” she said.
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