Six major hospitals in Mississippi have zero intensive care beds available because of coronavirus patients, and health officials warn the state could be facing a second wave of the virus.
The number of Mississippians testing positive for the coronavirus is up, and so is the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he is concerned about the state's healthcare system being strained once more. "I do have a network of people who do just kind of keep me informed of what they're seeing in the ERs and Hospitals, and they all over the weekend were telling me 'hey, it's starting to creep up. We're getting busy, we don't have space, we're seeing more patients show up in the ER with COVID-19 like symptoms.' So, I do think we're on the front end of something that could be bad," said Dobbs.
Over the summer, community transmission led to rapid spreading of the virus, but after the statewide mask mandate, those numbers went down. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says several counties have seen a resurgence in cases lately, and this could be a sign that community transmission is increasing. "Under most circumstances when we start seeing increases in a county, it's because we're starting to see community transmission. It's nothing mystical, it's the fact that we see more people being infected, and more people transmitting," said Byers. "Remember that even in the counties where we're not having a lot of activity right now, that doesn't mean that there's no COVID-19 there."
To help in identifying cases quickly, new rapid coronavirus test kits are now being used at several drive-through testing sites around the state. These offer results within 15 minutes and will be available at every county drive-through test site next week.