A challenge for rural hospitals: keeping beds staffed and vaccinations

NOXUBEE COUNTY,Miss. (WCBI) We’ve been here before. Rural hospitals are struggling to keep units staffed with nurses and to get more of the public vaccinated. Hospital numbers are steadily climbing. Even though we’ve been in the pandemic for a year now, there’s still the unknown of what the surge could mean for healthcare. In Noxubee County, 1,437 people have contracted Coronavirus. One year ago on, July 26, 2020, there were only 267 confirmed cases. ” The pandemic has not made it any easier,” said Dr. Naim Rahman, Emergency Room Director and Chief of Nursing Staff. Dr. Rahman is working to keep the community virus-free. “We don’t have those long lines in the vaccine areas anymore, but we don’t have a day where someone isn’t getting vaccinated,” said Rahman. Dr. Rahman says providing critical care to patients who contract the Delta variant, especially in rural hospitals, is challenging this time around. ” We’ve managed to keep the system going and to be there for the patients. We run the clinic, the hospital, and the emergency room. You have the same number of patients, but the patient gets much sicker. It’s demanding on the part of the nurses and healthcare providers,” said Rahman. The hospital also modified where patients are housed based on their illnesses. ” When the pandemic started, we split the hospital. We have four or five or six last week, so this is a big jump from even two weeks ago when we had none for several weeks on end,” said Rahman. Noxubee General Hospital can house up to 25 people, and about 10 of those beds are reserved for COVID-19 patients. A couple of people who are admitted with the virus are transferred from other medical facilities as far as Jackson. Dr. Rahman says smaller medical facilities are hit hardest due to the limited number of ICU beds and transfers. ” I tried Alabama, they’re a neighboring state, and they were wall to wall, not a single bed available. They recommended to call Texas because NetCom told us Louisiana and Nashville would even be full at this point,” said Rahman. So, how can we help curve those numbers? ” Wear a mask and use social distancing. Put some barriers between you and the virus,” said Rahman. The hospital will continue to keep part of the facility reserved for COVID-19 patients.

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