State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs ordered two new policies over the weekend. One limits elective surgeries in order to maintain capacity in the state’s already overburdened health-care system. The other would allow for more expedient use of monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients. Photo courtesy State of Mississippi
The Mississippi State Department of Health instituted an extended policy this weekend aimed at managing the state’s overburdened health-care system. The policy, which State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs ordered, puts limits on elective procedures and certain surgeries, even for serious diseases such as cancer, depending on the urgency of the condition and judgment of the medical practitioner.
“Over the weekend, MSDH renewed the Public Health Orders to manage our COVID System of Care and limit inpatient elective procedures/surgeries,” Dobbs tweeted this morning.
Elective surgeries are assigned one of three tiers, and the new order allows for either mandatory or discretionary postponement of surgery, depending on the assigned tier. Tier-one surgeries are those that are non-life threatening or that involve outpatient surgery. Examples of tier-one surgical conditions that will be mandatorily postponed include carpal tunnel disease, colonoscopies, endoscopies and cataract surgeries.
Tier two surgeries may be postponed if deemed non-urgent. The new policy describes these surgeries as being “not life-threatening but (with) potential for future morbidity and mortality.” These tier-two surgeries would require an in-hospital stay. Examples include specifically low-risk cancers, non-urgent spinal surgery, hip and knee replacements, and elective angioplasties.
Tier-three surgeries are not to be postponed. These include most cancers, neurosurgery, “highly symptomatic patients,” trauma, transplants, immediate cardiac conditions and limb-threatening vascular surgery.
The State Health Officer also issued an order allowing for immediate monoclonal antibodies to be given to patients without them having to first visit a doctor. “COVID patients can receive monoclonal antibodies without having to see a doctor or practitioner first,” Dobbs tweeted.
Dobbs earlier remarked on the efficacy of monoclonal treatment in preventing hospitalizations in patients positive for COVID-19. “Even if you’re hesitant about the vaccines, please don’t hesitate to talk with your doc about monoclonals if you get covid,” Dobbs tweeted on Aug. 14. “Cuts hospitalization 80-90% and might save your life. We will see too many deaths in coming weeks. Many 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s (and healthy folks too).”
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 7,839 new cases over the weekend with 52 deaths, marking a continuing rise in cases even after breaking last year’s records for both cases and hospitalizations. The Mississippi Free Press reported Saturday that a fifth child had died from the coronavirus.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].