Southern states are crippling in high COVID-19 case numbers
LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- As the country faces the fourth wave of COVID-19, southern states are crippling by daily high case numbers. Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas are areas in dire need of more nurses and healthcare workers. Extending shifts, treating ill patients, and going to the next facility is the reality for most travel nurses. “People are exhausted, they’re tired, they’re scared of COVID-19,” said Nurse Marie Allen, Labor and Delivery Nurse at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. ” Mentally, everyone is drained. The patients and the staff. We’re doing all we can to get them better,” said Ellis. And they say it’s only going to be worse if folks aren’t doing their part to curve case numbers. Travel nurses from Mississippi are working in top hospitals around the country. “I’ve had five COVID patients this week on the floor, and none of them get the vaccine. One of them is in ICU right now in very critical condition with a newborn in the NICU,” said Allen. Just a few days ago, Allen’s contract was extended until December due to the delta variant. Right now, her unit is riddled with severely ill patients. ” More patients, people are sicker and instead of taking your normal patient load with two. I’ve had four patients, not including the babies in the tummies,” said Allen. In the Eastern region of Louisiana, it’s the same reality for Mississippi native Claire Ellis. She’s working in the Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. ” The CDC comparison from now and from last year, just comparing from July in the south to this month in the south, it’s all red,” said Ellis. Case numbers are as high as 4,500 per day. Ellis says there’s one way to relieve Covid-19 symptoms for those infected, monoclonal antibodies. ” We’ve seen good results with that as far as the symptoms. It lessens the symptoms while they’re experiencing COVID,” said Ellis. Lashanda Randle says personal protection is on the top of her list. ” There are some facilities where they give you a change of clothes. You go in, and you change your clothes. You get all of your protective equipment, and you go to work,” said Randle. And you’re probably wondering why nurses aren’t staying in Mississippi. ” The pay is just so much lower even from travelers in Mississippi,” said Allen. ” The nurse ratio and the pay is better in California. There are rest breaks that they are mandating that you have to take a rest break,” said Randle. But as concerns build, there’s one thing nurses are certain of. ” I want to provide the best care whether or not they had the vaccination or not. I’m going to do everything I can do to save a life,” said Randle. State leaders are discussing if and when there will be state funding for more nurses to work in Mississippi.