Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at an all-time high. Mississippi State Department of Health leadership has offered increasingly grim warnings about the future of the state’s health-care system without immediate intervention. Photo courtesy MSDH
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs’ increasingly frantic warnings about the state of COVID-19 in Mississippi continue to reflect in the numbers. The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 870 new cases today, with 10 additional deaths, following 653 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and nine deaths, four of them from earlier reports.
Even more concerning to state health leadership are the rising hospitalization numbers.
As of July 1, MSDH’s hospitalization chart shows 863 tracked patients, 602 of which are confirmed COVID-19 patients, and 261 suspected. Both numbers represent an all-time high for a health-care system already showing the strains of responding to the pandemic.
Today’s report includes 101 long-term-care facility outbreaks, a grim reversal of an infection metric that had previously been in meaningful decline.
Gov. Tate Reeves announced a hold on Mississippi’s re-opening at yesterday’s press-briefing. “Let's be honest, that mission is threatened by the rising numbers,” the governor said in his first daily briefing after pausing them for more than a week. “I want to be very, very clear. Our health-care system is at risk. This is not a risk that is a long-term threat. This is a risk that is before us. If not now, very, very, very soon.”
Reeves echoed Dobbs’ warning that the state hospital system may collapse under pressure from an increasing COVID-19 case load. “I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen here. I'm begging you. I'm begging every one of my fellow Mississippians to please play your part,” Reeves said.
Read breaking coverage of COVID-19 in Mississippi, plus safety tips, cancellations, more in the JFP's archive.
Reeves would “take nothing off the table” when asked about additional orders to slow the spread of the virus. “It is more likely that we will see additional measures and more strict measures on a county-by-county basis,” the governor said.
Currently, there are no restrictions on which businesses may open. Personal hygiene providers and salons, as well as restaurants, retail outlets and recreational facilities have some restrictions, including capacity limitations. Gatherings are currently limited to 20 indoors and 50 outdoors without social distancing, as well as 50 indoors and 100 outdoors without social distancing.
Some cities are in the process of issuing mask orders, requiring face-coverings while outside. Oxford has had such an order for over a month, Jackson, Tupelo and others are following suit.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state intern Julian Mills at [email protected].