Officials with Greenwood Leflore Hospital announced it is working on clean-up efforts as the result of clogged manholes that forced sewage into the crawl space below the hospital. They cannot say when the hospital will be able to resume its operations.

The hospital on Monday closed its clinics, canceled outpatient testing and transferred 17 patients to eight other hospitals, according to hospital spokesperson Christine Hemphill. Sixteen patients were discharged.

READ MORE: Greenwood hospital transfers, discharges patients and closes clinics following sewage problem

The emergency room remains open.

“We are in the process of submitting a report and scope of work that remediates the situation to the Life Safety Code Inspector at MSDH (Mississippi Department of Health),” Hemphill said in an email. “If the problem is not as significant as initially thought and isolated to some extent, we could remediate without an on-site survey by the Life Safety Code Inspector. If an on-site survey is required, we feel certain it will happen in a timely fashion as he is fully aware of the urgency to reopen services at the hospital.”

Hemphill said a “partial reopening of services” is also being considered.

Employees of Greenwood Leflore who spoke to Mississippi Today on the condition their names not be used said there was a “foul odor” in certain areas of the hospital for several days. One employee said staff was either sent home without pay or told to use vacation time.

The hospital, which is jointly owned by Leflore County and the city of Greenwood, laid off 30 people in May to offset losses during the pandemic. It announced in June that it is in talks with UMMC on a joint operation agreement. 

“GLH began the process of seeking affiliation partners as the hospital emerged from the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic,” the hospital said in a press release. “Affiliation, particularly with a larger system like UMMC, the state’s only academic medical center and largest hospital, can result in cost efficiencies that are necessary to attain sustainable operations over the long term.”

In July, CEO Jason Studley resigned.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.