Top Mississippi hospital tightens its COVID vaccine policy

Field hospital set up at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Photo Date: Aug. 13, 2021.

Mississippi’s only Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital has announced it will now require all employees and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Posted: Aug 20, 2021 2:52 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's only Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital announced Friday it will now mandate all employees and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The policy is a reversal from a rule put in place last month that allowed employees or students to skip the vaccine if they agreed to wear an N95 mask while on campus.

In a letter Friday, a top official at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said it's time for the institution to take aggressive action. Mississippi has the highest per capita rate of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 case tracker.

“COVID-19 in Mississippi is a raging wildfire but not everyone is helping throw water on the flames in their own backyard,” wrote Dr. Alan Jones, University of Mississippi Medical Center's associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs. “We – as an institution and as the workforce for the state’s leading health system – need to be a leader in this fight.”

The University of Mississippi Medical Center's policy requires that employees and students be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1.

Vaccinations will be required to be completed in phases: By Sept. 15, all managers and supervisors must be vaccinated; by Oct. 1, all other employees; by Nov. 1, all students.

Those who refuse vaccination may face “corrective action up to and including termination or dismissal,” according to Jones's letter. He said those seeking accommodations must submit requests by Sept. 10.

“Mississippians getting vaccinated is the most effective weapon in the arsenal as we battle this pandemic,” he wrote.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Mississippi are being recorded at levels not previously seen during the pandemic — 1,660 people were hospitalized with the virus in the state on Wednesday.

The Johns Hopkins tracker showed that as of Thursday, Mississippi had 120 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. Louisiana was next-highest at 113 cases per 100,000, then Florida at 102.

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: 812694

Reported Deaths: 15142
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139601904
Mobile721751321
Madison51923685
Shelby37240339
Baldwin37044538
Tuscaloosa34902599
Montgomery33919719
Lee23122240
Calhoun22125469
Morgan20620370
Etowah19739496
Marshall18238298
Houston17288405
St. Clair15897337
Cullman15297290
Limestone15178198
Elmore15038284
Lauderdale14125294
Talladega13692271
DeKalb12554258
Walker11069364
Blount10081174
Autauga9883146
Jackson9776177
Coffee9176188
Dale8856180
Colbert8781200
Tallapoosa7032195
Escambia6725127
Covington6672179
Chilton6580160
Russell624758
Franklin5927105
Chambers5558142
Marion4952126
Dallas4854199
Clarke472681
Pike4716105
Geneva4558126
Winston4461101
Lawrence4252117
Bibb421686
Barbour355374
Marengo333989
Monroe329962
Randolph324763
Butler323994
Pickens313581
Henry310565
Hale308787
Cherokee299457
Fayette290579
Washington250851
Cleburne245958
Crenshaw243375
Clay239767
Macon230662
Lamar215446
Conecuh185351
Coosa177738
Lowndes173161
Wilcox167038
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125544
Choctaw86627
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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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