TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- A healthcare professional brought a daunting piece of information about Mississippi hospitals to light in a news conference on Thursday morning. Health professionals also addressed other key topics of interest in the conference.
The news conference took place at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo was just one of the medical facilities mentioned in the conference.
Hospitals in Mississippi have been dealing with the coronavirus for almost five months. The revelation revealed Thursday morning directly involves hospitals’ abilities to treat coronavirus patients. At the conference, Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said hospitals are not properly equipped.
“Yesterday, five of our biggest hospitals in the state had zero ICU beds. Zero,” Dobbs said. “An additional four had five percent or less. An additional three had less than ten percent.”
Following his statement, WTVA reached out to the North Mississippi Medical Center to find out if it was one of those five that does not have I-C-U beds. The hospital did not reveal how many beds it had but said only that it has them. The hospital added other hospitals in the surrounding area have them as well.
Thursday morning’s meeting also addressed monetary difficulties hospitals and medical personnel face during the pandemic. North Mississippi Health Services temporarily laid-off workers in April because of new hospital restrictions the coronavirus brought on. The president of the Mississippi State Medical Association said he is uneasy about potential future virus spikes.
“We made it over the first hump,” President Clay Hays said, “But if we have more and more and more humps, how many more can we survive?”
One more topic of interest in the meeting had to do with going back to school in the near future. State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said the goal is not just to start back to school, the goal is to stay in school. schools will each get to decide for themselves how to proceed this August.
Dobbs also mentioned high school football in the conference. As of now, there is not yet a definite start date for the sport.
"There's not gonna be any school if there are outbreaks,” Dobbs said. “Folks have been really kinda aggressive about getting back to football. Well, how are you gonna have football if your entire offensive line is on quarantine?"
A physician at the conference warned that the public should be prepared for another coronavirus surge and added people should expect it a couple of weeks after this past July 4th weekend.