As Covid Fills Hospitals, Staff Shortages Leave 1,000 Mississippi Beds Empty
Reports from Louisiana, Maryland and elsewhere show large numbers of covid cases, including in children, are swamping hospital systems. But staff shortages in Mississippi are limiting how hospitals can use their facilities. Hot spots on the Gulf Coast and in Alabama are also in the news.
Mississippi Clarion Ledger:
Over 1,000 Mississippi Hospital Beds Not In Use Due To Worker Shortage
If Mississippi's hospitals were adequately staffed amid the current COVID-19 resurgence, they could open over 1,000 additional beds statewide, health officials said Wednesday. Seventy-three Mississippi hospitals have collectively asked the state for roughly 1,450 health care workers, said Jim Craig, senior deputy and director of health protection for the Mississippi State Department of Health. Because of staff shortages in the state, he noted, 771 medical-surgical and 235 intensive care unit beds are unused. "The pressure on the health care system is terrifying and unnecessary," Craig said. "The governor's office and MEMA working to contract additional health care resources to assist in those staffing projects." (Haselhorst, 8/18)
"We're All Drowning": What Louisiana Ambulance Workers Are Seeing As COVID Surges
The pandemic has created grim realities for patients, loved ones, doctors and nurses, but what about the emergency medical workers who see patients before they get to the hospital? With the recent surge in COVID infections, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud rode along with an ambulance company in Louisiana to see what they're up against. His crew was there when 48-year-old Julia Clay was loaded into an Acadian Ambulance and taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. At Our Lady of Lourdes, 59% of the beds are filled with COVID patients and 93% of those patients are unvaccinated. Clay is now one of them. (8/18)
The Baltimore Sun:
Maryland Hospital Beds For Kids Are Filling Up With COVID And Other Virus Cases. When School Starts, Doctors Say It Could Get Worse.
Maryland hospital beds designated for children are filling up, with COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses largely to blame. As schools reopen with mask requirements that vary from county to county, the situation could escalate and cripple the health care system, hospital officials and medical professionals say. (Miller, 8/18)
Growing Cases Of Kids With COVID-19, Other Viruses, Are Straining Georgia Hospitals
The soaring number of children contracting COVID-19 is straining Georgia’s pediatric health care system. More kids than ever before are suffering from coronavirus cases so severe that they need to be hospitalized, filling pediatric wards at a time when physicians are also contending with an unseasonable surge of other respiratory viruses. Many area children’s hospitals are reporting that more than three-quarters of their ICU beds are occupied — in some places, it’s closer to 90%. (Hallerman, 8/18)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin Reports Consecutive Days Of Double-Digit COVID-19 Deaths
The state Department of Health Services reported 16 new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday — the highest mark since February. State officials said many of the deaths were reported in Milwaukee County. The county recorded two new deaths on Wednesday and four on Tuesday, so there may be a lag in how the state records the deaths. But COVID-related deaths are rising in Milwaukee County, after a period of weeks over the summer when no deaths would be reported for days at a time, according to the county’s online COVID-19 dashboard. (Bentley and Dirr, 8/18)
Native American COVID-19 Death Rates Could Be 'Much, Much Higher'
Abigail Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, has lost six fellow Native loved ones to COVID-19. She is not alone. Throughout the pandemic, Indigenous people were the most likely group to be hospitalized and die of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, followed by Hispanic and Black people. But data from states, tribal health centers and federal sources are often inconsistent. American Indian and Alaska Native people have long been misclassified in death records, marked white or Hispanic. A 2016 CDC report found incorrect death certificate classification among American Indian and Alaska Native deaths was as high as 40%. (Hassanein, 8/18)
In updates from Alabama —
Gulf Coast's Beloved 'Redneck Riviera' Now A Virus Hotspot
Tourists and servers alike dance atop tables and in the aisles at one restaurant on the “Redneck Riviera,” a beloved stretch of towns along the northern Gulf Coast where beaches, bars and stores are packed. Yet just a few miles away, a hospital is running out of critical care beds, its rooms full of unvaccinated people fighting for their lives. On maps that show virus “hot spots” in red, this part of the U.S. coast is glowing like a bad sunburn. And a summer of booming tourism that followed the lockdowns and travel restrictions of 2020 is making the turn toward fall with only a few signs of slowing down. (Reeves, 8/19)
191 Inmates Test Positive For COVID At Alabama Prison
Nearly 200 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at a state prison after officials implemented mass testing in the wake of an outbreak at the facility. The Alabama Department of Corrections said in a news release that all Elmore Correctional Facility inmates not currently exhibiting symptoms were tested last week. Out of the 960 asymptomatic inmates, 191 tested positive for COVID-19. Elmore is a medium-security prison that houses about 1,000 inmates. (8/19)
The Washington Post:
An Alabama Doctor Watched Patients Reject The Coronavirus Vaccine. Now He’s Refusing To Treat Them.
In Alabama, where the nation’s lowest vaccination rate has helped push the state closer to a record number of hospitalizations, a physician has sent a clear message to his patients: Don’t come in for medical treatment if you are unvaccinated. Jason Valentine, a physician at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, Ala., posted a photo on Facebook this week of him pointing to a sign taped to a door informing patients of his new policy coming Oct. 1.“Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against covid-19,” the sign reads. (Bella, 8/18)