COVID’s impact on Mississippi year in review

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Mississippi continues to see impacts from COVID-19, and our state’s resources were stretched to their limits at points during 2021.

When you look back at the year, vaccines and the rollout for various groups have been a major part of the changes compared to 2021. At the start of 2021, it was still only healthcare workers and the elderly eligible to roll up their sleeves. But the demand was exceeding the supply.

“About 1.3 to 1.4 million people,” noted State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs on January 21. “That’s a lot of people that now qualify. But if you look at how much vaccine that were allocated — right now, we get a steady stream of about 37001st doses coming into the state every week.”

An early concern was that fewer doses were going to the African American population in the state. A trend doctors and state health leaders worked specifically to reverse.

“I’ve had a few friends to die from COVID,” noted Mary Robinson as she received her first dose in March. “I just don’t want to be one of the numbers.”

In mid-March, the Governor announced vaccines would open up to ALL Mississippians 18 and over. Despite the vaccine rollout, a summer surge came roaring through the state. A hospital COVID system of care was put in place by late July to manage transfers as hospitals feared what would happen if cases and hospitalizations worsened.

“We’re looking at it and wondering how much more we can take,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Things DID get worse. Field hospitals were set up in the parking garages at UMMC, one operated by Samaritan’s purse.

“The response that they are responding to here in Mississippi today is a disaster of our own making,” noted Dr. Woodward. “We as a state, as a collective, have failed to respond in a unified way to a common threat.”

Also in August, the Governor announced extra staffing in the form of out-of-state contracted healthcare workers for the strained hospital system as many had left the state for travel jobs and more money.

“We’re deploying over 1,000 healthcare personnel,” said Reeves in a press briefing.

Cases started to drop this fall. Children 5 and over became eligible for vaccines. And the Governor’s COVID state of emergency ended on November 20. But Omicron is again causing concerns surrounding cases and hospitalizations as we prepare for 2022.

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