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Coronavirus pressures Mississippi hospitals; no ICU beds in Natchez, Brookhaven, state reports

As Mississippi continues to see a surge in COVID-19 coronavirus cases — the state reports its highest single-day case count Saturday — the state’s hospitals are also under growing pressure.

The Mississippi State Department of Health tracks available hospital beds and ICU beds across the state.

Through Friday, the state’s hospitals were approximately running at approximately 76% capacity in terms of total staffed beds, but at 87% capacity on intensive care beds with nearly one-third of those ICU beds occupied by a COVID-19 patient.

But those numbers can be deceiving as pockets around the state, including Southwest Mississippi, have little to no available hospital capacity.

In Natchez, Merit Health Natchez, as reported by MSDH, was operating at approximately 96% capacity with only four beds available and none of its eight ICU beds free. Six of those beds, or 75%, were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

In McComb, at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, the picture was a little better with six ICU beds available.

In Brookhaven, MSDH reports King’s Daughters Medical Center had all six of its ICU bed occupied, four by COVID patients.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,972 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total cases since the pandemic began in March to 142,401.

The previous daily new case high was recorded on July 30, at the height of Mississippi’s first surge last summer when 1,775 cases were reported.

While many people with COVID-19 have only mild symptoms, others get extremely sick.

The state reported 15 new deaths Saturday. A total of 3,657 Mississippians have died from the virus, the state reported.