New research shows that Mississippi Medicaid expansion would create thousands of jobs and increase the state’s GDP and population.

At least 22 hospitals in Mississippi had no open intensive care unit beds last week as a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the delta variant pressing the state’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse. 

The lack of ICU bed capacity at these hospitals offers a snapshot view of the strain all healthcare providers in Mississippi are seeing across all departments. It is only a limited view, however, as many other hospitals were near capacity on paper but had no ability to staff ICU beds.

“The real focus has been on trying to get staffing so we can keep people in hospitals and utilize those beds to release the pressure on the system,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said during a press conference on Wednesday.

More than 2,000 medical professionals have left the field in Mississippi over the past year, and MEMA is deploying over 1,100 healthcare workers to 61 hospitals in the coming weeks to help alleviate the staffing strain.

READ MORE: MEMA to deploy 1,100 contract healthcare workers over next two months

As of Wednesday morning, only 15 ICU beds were available across the state. There were also 63 patients waiting for an ICU bed — 31 of them being COVID-19 patients. At the same time, more than 400 of the contract workers had been deployed to 11 of the 61 hospitals that submitted staffing requests to MEMA. This included 347 nurses, 11 nurse practitioners and 78 respiratory technicians.

Below is a list of the hospitals that reported having fewer than one open ICU bed between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. During that period, nearly 94% of ICU beds in the state were full, with nearly 64% of them being occupied by COVID-19 patients. 

Adams County

  • Merit Health Natchez

Alcorn County

  • Magnolia Regional Health Center

Bolivar County

  • Bolivar Medical Center

Clay County

  • North Mississippi Medical Center – West Point

DeSoto County

  • Methodist Healthcare – Olive Branch Hospital

Forrest County

  • Forrest General Hospital
  • Merit Health Wesley

George County

  • George Regional Health System

Grenada County

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center – Grenada

Harrison County

  • Memorial Hospital at Gulfport
  • Merit Health Biloxi

Jackson County

  • Singing River Health System

Jones County

  • South Central Regional Medical Center

Lincoln County

  • King’s Daughters Medical Center – Brookhaven

Madison County

  • Merit Health Madison

Okitbbeha County

  • Och Regional Medical Center

Pearl River County

  • Highland Community Hospital

Pike County

  • Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center

Warren County

  • Merit Health River Region
  • KPC Promise Hospital of Vicksburg

Washington County

  • Delta Regional Medical Center – Greenville

Wayne County

  • Wayne General Hospital


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Will Stribling covered healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.