Declining cases, but in intensive care, demand for ventilators remains high in hospital

The Southwestern Mississippi Regional Medical Center has started to see a drop in hospitalizations in its system, but the needs for ventilators and intensive care remain in high demand, hospital officials say.

Chief medical officer Dr Kevin Richardson said the hospital had 23 COVID-19 patients on Friday, down from the record high of 35 reported earlier this week.

He explained the encouraging data.

“We have had two deaths from COVID-19 this week, in addition to the three last week,” Richardson said. “Overall, the declining number reflects patients being discharged to continue their recovery at home, thankfully.”

Of the 23 coronavirus patients in the hospital, six were vaccinated and of the 14 patients in the intensive care unit, two were vaccinated.

All but one of the intensive care patients were on a ventilator and only one of the vaccinated patients was on a ventilator.

The number of ventilator patients on Friday set a new record for the hospital.

The hospital has 15 ventilators, some of which were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the start of the pandemic, but with the hospital so close to its stock capacity, Richardson said he made a request for more fans this week.

He said the fans had not arrived Friday afternoon but should soon.

Richardson also spoke of a recent meeting he and other health officials had with state health worker Dr Thomas Dobbs on Friday morning when Dobbs explained the “modest” drop in number of state cases.

“Even though the statewide trend has been a modest decline in new COVID hospital admissions, the number of new daily infections continues to exceed 2,000 per day,” said Richardson. “The state is seeing more new cases per day today than at the height of the winter wave. The shortage of hospital beds statewide remains a major challenge.

“As of this morning, 112 people in emergency rooms across our state are waiting on hospital beds. Forty-six of these patients are critically ill and are waiting in an intensive care bed. Deaths from COVID-19 continue to occur at an alarming rate. Mississippi has the # 1 COVID-19 death rate in the country to date, Dr. Dobbs says. ”

Meanwhile, the state has reported 2,321 cases and 49 deaths for a total of 473,413 cases and 9,214 total deaths since the pandemic. More than 1,000 deaths were reported in August.

Pike County has recorded 5,491 cases, totaling about 14% of the county’s population, with 133 deaths. That means 2.4% of all residents of Pike County who contracted the virus have died.

Pike County’s total vaccinated population increased by one percentage point to 39% during the week. Almost half of the county, 46%, took their first dose, which has remained the same since Monday.

Amite County has seen its fully vaccinated population increase to 30%. Franklin County increased 39%, Lawrence County 46%, Lincoln County 32%, Walthall County increased 32%. Each increased by one percentage point respectively.

Wilkinson County continues to have the highest fully vaccinated population in this region, with 47% of its population fully vaccinated and 53% taking the first dose.

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