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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: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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