Healthcare workers urge people to stay home as COVID-19 numbers rise

WINSTON COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Local Healthcare workers say there are no more ICU beds in Mississippi, and now is the time to cancel plans and stay home.

“We are in a critical stage and I do believe that it will only get worse,” said Dr. Dustin Gentry.

Gentry is the Chief of Staff at Winston Medical Center.

He said this year is unlike any he’s ever seen.

“This is not the flu. We’ve never had ICU beds and critical resources being absorbed by the influenza virus,” said Gentry.

The numbers are high this week, but Gentry said we aren’t even seeing the worst of it.

“The glut on hospital resources that we’re utilizing and seeing is not due to Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving was only 7 days ago,” said Gentry.

Winston County Emergency Management Director Buddy King said the problem isn’t just in the ICU.

“We’re to the point now that the state of Mississippi does not have any ICU beds, and while that may be a news headline, the other fact you have to consider with that is, people that need medical care LESS than an ICU bed, they’re receiving care from facilities and individuals that are already taxed to the max,” said King.

“The sickest patients are those that have respiratory symptoms, but there’s been stroke and heart attacks associated with this virus, pulmonary embolisms, severe GI symptoms, and lots of other milder symptoms,” said Gentry.

Both men agree that there are steps that can be taken to lessen the overwhelming number of COVID patients.

“I think we’re all looking for guidance, and we look to our state agencies for that guidance. Locally, what we can do and what we know we need to do, is to wear masks. We need to practice social distancing, good hygiene. Those are things that each one of us can do to lessen the rates of transmission,” said King.

“The best place to go from here, is for everybody, from the top all the way down, to get on the same page and cancel things that aren’t necessary,” said Gentry.

King said it’s also hard to transfer ICU patients out of state because neighboring states are dealing with similar issues.

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