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: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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