Mississippi working to expand hospital capacity for virus

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says hospitals in the state have about 3,000 beds, and projections show almost 400 more could be needed for the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 7, 2020 9:11 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday that hospitals in the state have about 3,000 beds, and projections show that almost 400 more beds will be needed when the state reaches is peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the next few weeks.

He said officials are working on a system to send the sickest patients to larger, better equipped hospitals. He said smaller, rural hospitals could care for patients who have either not yet reached the most severe part of the illness or are past the most severe part and are recovering.

Reeves also said a military base in south Mississippi, Camp Shelby, has 200 beds that can be used for less severe patients, and officials are close to finding a site in north Mississippi that could also be set up with a 200-bed capacity.

“There will be more Mississippians who die from this virus,” Reeves said Monday. “It is serious, it is contagious and it can be fatal.”

The Mississippi Health Department said Monday that as of Sunday evening, the state had 1,738 positive tests for the virus and 51 deaths. The state has about 3 million residents.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

Mississippi has high rates of heart disease, diabetes and asthma. Reeves said Monday that many people in the state have “unique risks.”

The Health Department has not released statistics showing the race of people who have tested positive or died from COVID-19. Jim Craig, the department's senior deputy and director of the Office of Health Protection, said in response to a question Monday that he thinks African Americans have been disproportionately affected.

Mississippi on Sunday became the latest U.S. state declared a major disaster area by President Donald Trump, giving it access to more federal assistance to confront the pandemic. Reeves announced Friday that he had asked Trump to issue the declaration.

Reeves issued a stay-at-home order that took effect Friday evening and remains in place until the morning of April 20. It bans gatherings of 10 or more people.

Reeves has said people should limit their outings to essential errands like grocery shopping. He said law enforcement officers will break up big groups of people who are out socializing. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses deemed essential will remain open.

Republican Reeves has said he does not think government has the power to shut down churches, and he urged people to worship through online services rather than in person.

A church in southwest Mississippi held a Palm Sunday service with about 250 people attending, the Natchez Democrat reported. The service at New Hope the Vision Center Missionary Baptist Church in Adams County was carried live on Facebook. Its pastor, the Rev. Stanley Searcy, told the newspaper that people who attended were seated far from each other in a sanctuary that can hold 1,800.

One member of the church is Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten, who tested positive for the coronavirus several days ago. Patten told the newspaper that he has not been to church since March 17. The sheriff said he received several calls from people wanting to know why the church was holding an in-person service.

Searcy said he believes having 250 people inside the church does not violate the governor's order. The sheriff disagreed, but said he is not going to shut down services as they are happening.

“I’m not coming to anybody’s pulpit and snatching them off of holy ground,” Patten told the newspaper. ”Whatever happens will happen outside of the church, and we will deal with it.”

Asked about that church service on Monday, Reeves said: “People do not need to be going to large gatherings of churches of more than 10 people. It is not smart to do that, and I do believe that it is in violation of the order of keeping folks from being in groups of larger than 10 people."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
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Columbus
Cloudy
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Oxford
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Starkville
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A frontal system will finally leave our area and high pressure will move into our area gradually overnight and on our Wednesday. This will mean much drier air will replace the moist and unstable air that we have had for the last several days.
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