/Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalization rate ranks second in nation amid state data blackout

Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalization rate ranks second in nation amid state data blackout

Since June 19, the only data that has been released has been hospitalization data. The Mississippi Department of Health released new case numbers for June 17, and issued a statement apologizing to the public for any data delays. It also released new report numbers for June 17. On Friday, Mississippi had 516 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Both confirmed and suspected cases require hospital resources to isolate, bed space for coronavirus treatment and protective equipment for health workers. 689 patients were hospitalized. According to limited data from the health department, the total number of hospitalized patients, both confirmed and suspected, rose to 710. This is tied with June 11, which was the highest ever. It also surpassed 662 on Saturday. According to The COVID Tracking Project, the state’s hospitalization rate is 239 per million residents. 3 percent of state COVID patients are currently in hospital. This makes it second-highest in the U.S. Mississippi had the highest rate of hospitalizations per patient during the pandemic. This was when more than 30% of all COVID patients were admitted to the hospital. However, this rate has fallen to around 15%. The state now has the second highest current rate of hospitalizations per patient in the country, and is tied for the second highest per-capita rate. Although the two rates may be different, they both indicate the same problem: an increasing strain on our hospital system. This was echoed by the state’s top health official. Thomas Dobbs, the State Health Officer, said Thursday that the state is experiencing “significant stress” after being warned about rising hospital pressures in central Mississippi for several weeks. He said that it was possible for someone to have a heart attack, and that they will show up at the hospital. However, Dobbs reiterated that the state is experiencing “significant stress” because of the lack of social distancing guidelines, and that masks are required to prevent hospitalizations. Although he previously stated to reporters that he would get more compliance if he encouraged rather than required masks, Gov. Tate Reeves stated last week that he wouldn’t remove any community mask mandates from the table. Mississippi is second in COVID-19 per capita hospitalizations, behind Arizona which has seen new cases this month and tied with Washington D.C. Mississippi is third in the country for per capita hospitalizations based on current hospitalizations that have confirmed cases. Another metric is the current hospitalization rate per case COVID-19, which is essentially the percentage of all COVID-19 patient currently hospitalized. Mississippi ranks second behind Arizona based on confirmed and suspected hospitalizations. Mississippi currently ranks ninth if you only consider confirmed cases. The state has not released the data so this data can’t be used to analyze current cases or recent ones. However, Mississippi’s hospital utilization has been relatively flat since April’s early hospitalization spike. This was until the month when both the governor and the governor decided to make a change. Reeves stated that Mississippi had “flattened” the curve, meaning that it has reduced the number of patients enough to not overwhelm its hospital system. Since Memorial Day, however, new cases have been increasing daily as well as on a rolling basis. These new cases have resulted in a reversal of previous flat or downward trends. Despite average tests trending down and hospitalizations following suit, there have been new peaks and upwards. During the re-opening of plans, Dr. Alan Jones, who is in charge of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s emergency department, expressed concern about an increase in hospitalizations and cases. According to Dobbs, COVID ICUs and ventilator-use have remained stable despite the recent increase in hospitalizations. However, non-COVID patients have seen their availability rise in recent weeks due to increased hospital use, trauma care, and surgeries returning to normal. National trackers showed that the state’s ICU availability was at 29 percent as of Sunday. This is tied for eighth in the U.S. Mississippi Today did not have any new case numbers and used the 319 daily average new cases to estimate total cases at 21,917. These hospitalization rates rank among the top three nationally, even without adding them and leaving the previous total of 20,641 as at June 18. Mississippi had a total of 79 percent recovery rate for COVID-19 cases as of the last count. Editor’s Note: MSDH updated case information for the five days missing from Monday’s story. This means that there are 1,646 new cases in “Five days combined COVID-19 positive test results reported to MSDH as at 6 p.m. yesterday.” While this averages 329 cases per day, exact counts for each day have not yet been released. For more information, please visit our data page.