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Hospital CEO urges COVID safe practices

King’s Daughters Medical Center CEO Alvin Hoover is urging Brookhaven residents to follow safety protocols regarding COVID-19.

Due to the rise in coronavirus cases following Thanksgiving, hospitals across the state are becoming more overwhelmed. The Mississippi Department of Health reported 2,480 new cases and 37 new deaths Friday morning.

As of Friday, there were less than 100 intensive care unit beds available statewide.

“We’re busy, and hospitals across the state are busy,” Hoover said. “From a COVID-19 perspective, we’re seeing more cases now than ever. It’s a hard time for hospitals.”

Hoover said the hospital being overwhelmed isn’t just bad for his employees, but for the patients in need of care as well.

“The ICU is full,” Hoover said. “We try to keep six beds available there, but we’ve been running seven or eight. It takes a lot of work to take care of people like that.”

In September, KDMC didn’t have any COVID-19 positive patients in the hospitals. By the end of October, they had 6-8 patients. As of December, the hospital has nearly 20.

Another effect due to the spike in cases is running out of certain supplies. For KDMC, it’s not having rapid tests.

“We’re out of rapid tests,” Hoover said. “Before Thanksgiving we were testing 80-100 people a day. We’re not doing the rapid tests out at the clinic right now. “

He said it’s a matter of these tests simply not being available.

“We’ve had tests on order for three or four weeks,” Hoover said. “They just don’t have them right now.”

For anyone in need of critical care coming to KDMC, they may not be transferred due to bed shortages in other hospitals as well.

“If you come to the ER and you need to be transferred to UMC for something, they probably can’t take you right now,” Hoover said. “It’s been taking calling 10-12 hospitals, if we can even transfer them.”

Overall, Hoover is urging the community to take precaution. The advice he offers isn’t anything new.

“We live in America, the land of the free,” Hoover said. “We want to have our options, but wearing a mask around other people, keeping your distance, washing your hands, those are the important things.”

Hoover said many individuals have approached him and asked whether the coronavirus is a hoax.

“This thing is serious,” Hoover said. “The people that work at the hospital are seeing it everyday. The pictures from ICUs in NYC and Houston, that’s what it looks like here too. We’ve had people in the ICU for two or three weeks.”

While many believe that the coronavirus only targets the elderly or individuals with underlying conditions, that isn’t always the case.

“We’ve had people from their 20s to their 90s in this hospital have COVID-19,” Hoover said. “We’ve had people from their 20s to their 90s in this hospital be in ICU. We’ve had people in this hospital from their 20s to their 90s be on ventilators and die.”

Hoover said his hospital staff can only do so much each day.

“Our staff are having to take care of those people,” Hoover said. “You learn to love the people you take care of and seeing those people have a bad outcome is hard. With the virus, you might get sick with pneumonia and you may never recover.”