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Mississippi closes field hospitals, reports baby COVID death

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs on Aug. 19, 2021.

Mississippi is closing its only remaining parking garage field hospital set up to treat coronavirus patients during the delta variant surge.

Posted: Sep 9, 2021 9:10 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is closing its only remaining parking garage field hospital set up to treat coronavirus patients during the delta variant surge, but it is still relying on out-of-state workers to help increase ICU capacity in state hospitals, officials said Wednesday.

Health officials also reported the state's seventh child death from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic and raised alarms about a string of deaths in unvaccinated pregnant women. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said eight pregnant women with coronavirus have died over the past four weeks.

“We do know that COVID is especially problematic and dangerous for pregnant women,” Dobbs said.

The health officer said COVID can be deadly for babies in the womb, too. Very preliminary data collected by the Department of Health indicates that babies are twice as likely to die in the womb after 20 weeks in COVID-19 infected pregnant women than in women without the virus, he said.

“It’s been a real tragedy," he said.

Jim Craig, senior deputy for the Mississippi Department of Health and Director of Health Protection, said the state is seeing a small improvement in hospital bed availability, but ICU capacity continues to be “very scarce.”

“The bed capacity for ICU space is effectively zero still in the state of Mississippi,” Craig said. Craig said the Department of Health has applied to extend the support of federal partners working at the Jackson and Biloxi Veterans Affairs hospitals, the 23-person Department of Defense military team at the University of Mississippi Medical center and a group working on monoclonal antibody administration at the university.

A total of 1,660 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Mississippi on Aug. 18, compared with 1,285 on Tuesday. A Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker showed that as of Tuesday, Mississippi had the ninth-highest COVID-19 rate in the U.S. The state had 79.5 new cases and 1.3 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Craig said the field hospital set up by Christian relief charity Samaritan’s Purse was in the process of decommissioning. A different field hospital on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus set up with health care workers from the federal government was already decommissioned last month.

Craig said the field hospitals are closing because of the decrease in hospitalizations and the increase of health care workers coming in from out of state to support hospitals.

“It’s been a rough month and a half of the delta surge. It has really been stressful. It’s overwhelmed by our health system, and it’s caused a lot of unnecessary deaths," Dobbs said. "Fortunately, we are starting to see an inflection point with somewhat of a decline in hospitalizations, and daily cases."

Dobbs said vaccine hesitancy continues to be a problem in the state. Mississippi is nearing 1.5 million — almost half the state's population — people who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

“We are making some progress," he said. "... But we don't have near enough people in the state who are immune.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said Mississippi was reporting its seventh pediatric death of the virus since the start of the pandemic — a child less than a year old.

However, Byers said the state is seeing a slight decrease in coronavirus cases in schools. Schools are required to self-report information on cases and students quarantined to the state. For the week of Aug. 30 through Sept. 3, 15,000 students were on quarantine, compared with 23,000 in the previous week and 28,000 in the week before that.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 813481

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139971910
Mobile722271323
Madison51970686
Shelby37279341
Baldwin37069540
Tuscaloosa34934599
Montgomery33953725
Lee23142240
Calhoun22142470
Morgan20639372
Etowah19758496
Marshall18245300
Houston17302405
St. Clair15912337
Cullman15306290
Limestone15202198
Elmore15075284
Lauderdale14143294
Talladega13715272
DeKalb12569259
Walker11085366
Blount10094174
Autauga9893146
Jackson9789180
Coffee9182189
Dale8859181
Colbert8789200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6732127
Covington6682179
Chilton6587160
Russell625958
Franklin5930105
Chambers5559142
Marion4955126
Dallas4882199
Clarke472782
Pike4719105
Geneva4564126
Winston4473101
Lawrence4264117
Bibb421686
Barbour355475
Marengo334089
Monroe330262
Randolph327063
Butler324794
Pickens313882
Henry310965
Hale309187
Cherokee299957
Fayette290679
Washington250951
Cleburne246958
Crenshaw243575
Clay240367
Macon230562
Lamar215846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178538
Lowndes173761
Wilcox167438
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131038
Greene125544
Choctaw86927
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A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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