Number of available icu beds in Mississippi is at a critical level
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The number of available ICU beds in Mississippi is at a critical level. And it’s the same or worse for other states in the region. Many of those will end up in the hospital, and of those, dozens will need intensive care. Hospitals across the South are dealing with a surge of the COVID-19 delta variant. “As our country has experienced, we’ve seen it here in our ICU as well,” said Bridgett Alexander, Director of Inpatient Nursing at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. With case numbers rising, the room to treat critically-ill patients is rapidly shrinking. Health leaders announced only eight intensive care unit beds are open in Mississippi. “Our capacity for CCU is 18 patients. We’ll send one or two patients out, and that bed fills pretty rapidly,” said Alexander. The Mississippi State Department of Health reports 7,358 people in Lowndes County have tested positive for Coronavirus since March 2020. However, Baptist isn’t just treating folks from the Golden Triangle patients are traveling across state lines. Jim Craig, the Senior Deputy and State Director of Health Protection, said rural medical facilities are transferring people weekly. ” We see abnormal patterns of transfer. If you transfer to ICU 60 miles down the road, you may transfer to another part of the state. Right now, we’re seeing more requests from out of state coming to Mississippi,” said Craig. ” We have received several patients from different states like Arkansas and Missouri, so we have seen the influx. Our emergency department, we’ve gone from a volume of 160 patients to over 200 a day in admissions,” said Alexander. It means hospitals report capacity numbers every few hours. “We use the rotation process that we have to make ICU space available,” said Craig. ” We’ve had transfer this week, last week, it’s a constant transfer. We’re constantly looking at where are the patients, where are our bed availability, what do we need to do with staffing to ensure they get optimum care,” said Alexander. Alexander said Baptist Memorial Hospital is using emergency room space for an ICU when needed.