State medical leaders warn of staffing shortages and precautions ahead of Thanksgiving

Mississippi State Department of Health
Mississippi State Department of Health(WLBT)
Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 10:54 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The case numbers as we approach another holiday are the reason several medical professionals gathered for a press conference Friday.

Wearing a mask, social distancing and not gathering with folks outside your household is not just a repeat ask from healthcare providers. They explain that we know those measures work in reducing the cases.

“Let me be clear,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “Things are bad and getting worse. We’re seeing the rate of a rise of hospitalizations that we haven’t seen yet at all. We are seeing increased case burdens that we haven’t seen yet at all.”

Dobbs says it looks like this fall surge is going to be more severe than the summer surge. That demand is being felt by those working at the front lines.

“We have more than 81,000 nursing workforce providers and yet today that is still not enough,” explained Tonya Moore, PhD, RN, President of the Mississippi Nurses Association.

Other states that can offer more money are now pulling from what was already a short staffed industry, leading to even longer hours for nurses who are now pleading with you.

“I like the idea of team Mississippi when it comes to COVID because there’s no one of us that’s going to solve this,” described Carl Mangum, PhD, PMHNP-BC, Vice President of the Mississippi Nurses Association. “It’s going to take all of us.”

Part of that team mentality, they say, is not throwing caution to the wind in an attempt to celebrate holiday traditions like usual.

“Just look at our recent history,” said President/CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Assocation Timothy Moore. “Go back to Memorial Day. Go back to the Fourth of July. Go back to Labor Day. We’re just two weeks out from Halloween. We saw spikes and positive infection rates each time that occurred. Fourth of July probably being the greatest of those. We cannot let Thanksgiving and the holidays be another Fourth of July.”

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