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Reeves: overwhelm of hospitals is a ‘slow moving disaster’



Merit Health River Region

The governor and state health officials are warning that Mississippi hospitals are in imminent risk of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.

During a news conference Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said that the huge spike in new COVID-19 cases that began around June 23 is threatening to overwhelm Mississippi hospitals.

“My greatest fear is starting to be realized,” Dobbs said, “because there are people in ERs now across the state who can’t get a bed. They can’t get transferred where they need to go. We’re sending them out of state.”

The rate of increase in cases in Mississippi was the highest in the nation for the week ending July 4. At a seven-day daily average of 734 cases, the average nearly tripled in four weeks. Hospitalizations have gone from around 450 in the middle of June to nearly 650 as of July 6.

On Wednesday, Reeves reiterated the message during his live news conference.

“The overwhelming of our health care system is not a one-day event. It is a slow-moving disaster that looks like nurses without sleep, doctors who cannot take care of you to the best of their ability because they are stretched too thin,” Reeves said.

“I want you to hear me loud and clear: This is real,” he added, saying he is finalizing orders to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, which may include mask mandates and added restrictions on bars and restaurants.

“Nothing will work unless people will just follow the rules that are in place,” Reeves said.

To avoid overwhelming the medical system in Mississippi, individuals must take the crisis seriously and take action to reduce contagion: wear masks in public, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

“As you go about your daily life, imagine that every person you encounter has coronavirus, because, in fact, they could,” Dobbs said.

Watch the Dobbs/Byers news conference.

Watch the governor’s news conference.


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