MSDH: Rise in COVID-19 spread could stress healthcare system

Earlier today, the Department of Health reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 — by far the highest one-day rise in Mississippi since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Following the report, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers held a press briefing to urge everyone to follow the guidelines in place to prevent the spread of the virus, especially young people. Dr. Dobbs and Dr. Byers stressed that a recent surge in cases among Mississippi’s 18-29-year-old population is tied to large gatherings and a lack of adherence to social distancing guidelines. 

Health officials also reiterated that if cases continue to rise at this rate, Mississippi’s hospital system will be strained. In recent weeks, hospitalizations have risen along with ICU bed and ventilator usage. 

“I am absolutely terrified that we are going to overwhelm the healthcare system, not in the fall, which is something that had worried me previously, but now I’m worried about next week or two weeks from now,” Dr. Dobbs said amid increased amounts of community transmission.

Governor Tate Reeves emphasized the message issued by the MSDH on Facebook Live. 

“As much as we want this to be over, it is not over. It is not going to be over any time soon. We have to remain diligent. We have to do the little things that’ll make a difference,” he said.

The Governor also stated that the rise in cases is not due to an increase in testing and that it is a direct result of Mississippians choosing not to follow the guidelines in place.