‘Tsunami’ of variant COVID cases hits Mississippi

Published 5:00 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

Delta variant COVID-19 infections are “sweeping over Mississippi like a tsunami,” according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

Thursday the state Department of Health reported 3,164 new cases, the third-highest single-day caseloads the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Higher one-day counts came on Jan. 7 and 9 this year, with 3,203 and 3,255 cases, respectively.

As of Thursday, MSDH reported 1,154 people hospitalized with coronavirus infections, with 295 in intensive care units and 150 on ventilators. Another 53 patients were hospitalized with suspected cases of COVID-19. Only 85 adult ICU beds were available statewide.

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Friday, MSDH reported 2,094 new positive test results for the virus and eight new deaths. The state has now recorded 358,149 cases and 7,621 deaths from the pandemic.

Though Lincoln County’s death statistic remains at 116, positive test results have continued to climb almost daily, reaching 4,277 cases to date.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s COVID-19 clinical response leader Dr. Alan Jones said Wednesday that UMMC has not had to turn away patients, but that the hospital does not have infinite resources.

“We can break. We can have to close,” Jones said. “And I think we’re rapidly headed that direction.”

Staffing struggles are an issue across the state, as well, as many nurses and other healthcare workers have left the medical field or have moved to higher paying jobs elsewhere.

As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven had 18 COVID-positive patients in the hospital, all of whom were not vaccinated. Six were in ICU beds and all six were on ventilators.

The percentage of patients admitted to the hospital compared to pre-pandemic levels remains at 150%.

Leading medical researchers across the nation agree that vaccines greatly minimize the chance of infection from the original strain of COVID-19 or any of its variants, nearly eliminating risks of developing serious illness as a result. Studies suggest that being fully vaccinated is the only adequate protection against the delta variant. Of the 2,150 Mississippians who died from COVID Jan. 1 to Aug. 4, 2021, only 51 were fully vaccinated.

In Brookhaven, vaccinations are available at KDMC, Walmart Pharmacy, Walgreen’s and some small clinics.