Official: COVID strain on Mississippi health system high

Published 1:04 pm Sunday, January 30, 2022

(AP) — Staff at a north Mississippi health system is experiencing more stress now than at any other time during the pandemic, officials said.

The chief medical officer of North Mississippi Health Services recently gave an update on the health system’s battle against the coronavirus, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

Dr. Jeremy Blanchard said people might expect fewer patients to be going to the hospital now than during previous spikes. But that isn’t the case, he said at a news conference.

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While omicron produces fewer severe symptoms in most people, it’s also affecting a much larger population than previous variants. As a result, health centers across Mississippi are seeing high numbers of hospitalizations.

The Tupelo-based health system had 112 COVID patients across seven hospitals on Tuesday. That’s just four fewer than the system’s peak on Jan. 7, 2021.

But Blanchard said there were more nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals on hand a year ago. The reduced staff this time around has increased the burden on those still working.