Gov. Reeves announces plan to deploy 1,000 healthcare personnel to Miss. hospitals

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gov. Tate Reeves, State Epidemiologist Paul Byers, and Executive Director Stephen McCraney of MEMA, provided updates on Mississippi’s response to COVID-19.

Reeves announced that they plan to deploy 1,000 healthcare personnel over the next six business days.

“My top priority always has and always will be maintaining the integrity of our healthcare system.” said Reeves

Mississippi is now beginning to receive the personnel necessary to relieve stress on healthcare workers.

McCraney explained that this will relieve the stress to more than 50 hospitals.

“I can guarantee you that if I did not have a state of emergency, we would not be able to do this.”

Reeves stated that he has not visited any of the hospitals in Mississippi, but he regularly speaks with hospital administrators and staff.

“If we all continue to do our part, if we all work together, we will get through these challenges,” said Reeves.

Reeves explained that 81,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the past week, and about 53,000 were first doses.

This is the largest number of vaccine doses in Mississippi since April.

“I think as more and more of our Mississippians are given information, they are more likely to make decisions based on the facts.”

Reeves continues to advise that Mississippians consult with their doctors and physicians and to “make the best decision for you and your family.”

While vaccinations are going up in the state, Reeves stated that he has no intentions of imposing a vaccine mandate.

“Vaccine hesitancy in Mississippi is about proportional to the demographics in our state,” explained Reeves. “Political popularity is not transferrable. I’m not sure politicians endorsing one decision or another has a lot of impact either.”

“People believe that those who are vaccine hesitant are Trump supporters. That’s simply not true in Mississippi. We have a total African American population that is vaccinated and that’s about 37%.”

The MSDH also reported more than 100 deaths today, which is the highest number reported in the pandemic.

“If we look at the numbers we are reporting out today, these are the highest numbers of deaths to date. The last time numbers were this high was back in January,” said Byers.

Byers explained that 87% of deaths were people who were not fully vaccinated.

“It looks like we are beginning to plateau. A couple of days a trend does not make, but we are heading in the right direction,” said Byers.

Byers emphasized the impact of monoclonal antibodies as a lifesaving measure, and has proved to prevent hospitalization and deaths if implemented early enough.

Byers also explained that those who are immunocompromised are able to make their own appointments for their 3rd dose. He also believes that the approval of the Pfizer vaccine will increase vaccination efforts in the state.

Reeves was also questioned about his plans for the state if cases continue to rise.

“When the numbers start to plateau, the numbers start to decline as well. That’s what’s happening in Israel, that’s what happened in England,” responded Reeves.

He believes that a similar trend will start to happen in Mississippi.

“Deaths are a lagging indicator,” explained Reeves.

“We need to be cognizant of that. We need to be aware of that. We are plateauing and eventually rolling over. The hospitalizations and fatalities will follow as well.”

Mississippians have also shown concern for the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi schools, however Reeves states that he still plans to keep schools open.

“Having our kids in the classroom is vitally important. The risks associated with not being in the classroom are far worse than those associated with being in the classroom.”

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