Skip to main content

Coronavirus and flu hospitalizations are straining Mississippi’s ICUs

Email share
MSDH Deputy Director Jim Craig (left), State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney (center left), State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers (center right), and Dr. Victor Sutton Director of the Department of Health and Health Equity (right)
MSDH livestream

Mississippi health officials are sounding the alarm as coronavirus and flu cases strain the state’s hospitals. And they say many residents aren’t up to date on vaccines going into the holidays.

Kobee Vance

Coronavirus and flu hospitalizations are straining Mississippi’s ICUs


The number of ICU beds available across Mississippi is dropping to rates seen during the major waves of the coronavirus pandemic. But health officials say the Flu is contributing to the strain on hospitals more than it has in recent years. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says only 15% of the state’s most vulnerable population has gotten the most recent covid booster dose. He says those older demographics represent the majority of deaths in the state.

“And when we look at the vaccination status for those individuals, more than 60% have occurred among individuals who have been fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but never got it or were never vaccinated in the first place,” says Dr. Byers.

While many Mississippians have gotten a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine, experts say that immunity wanes over time. State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney says natural immunity is also not a reliable form of protection against these respiratory illnesses. He says the most recent doses of the booster are proven to be effective at preventing severe illness from the ever-evolving strains of disease.

“And as these new variants come and we’re able to adjust the vaccine, we do encourage you to stay up to date as we’re doing. As a 61-year-old Mississippian, I’m healthy, but I want to stay that way. So I’m staying up to date with my covid booster, as is my family.

Flu and covid vaccines are available at county health departments, and the Office of Preventive Health and Health Equity is seeking community partners to host vaccination events across the state.