University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, April 28, 2022. Credit: Eric Shelton/Mississippi Today

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s ability to respond to a fire is compromised and the air conditioning system at the Jackson Medical Mall is not functioning properly as a result of the water emergency in Jackson.

A water tanker is on the way to the Jackson Medical Mall and should arrive “later this morning,” a memo sent out to UMMC employees and students on Tuesday from Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the chief executive of the hospital, said. The system should be operational by the afternoon.

Woodward noted the main UMMC campus and the Lakeland Medical Building are on a well-water system and are not being impacted by the city’s water issues.

According to an announcement released Monday, the main campus is under a fire watch until further notice as a result of “a continuous drop in city water pressure.” The announcement, which apparently did not reach some employees and students until Tuesday, stated that all faculty, staff and students shall be notified of the watch and “remain on a heighten (sic) state of awareness to any potential fire related issues during this time.”

A separate announcement encouraged patients who have appointments at an off-campus location at one of the following locations to contact the clinic to confirm their appointments:

  • Jackson Medical Mall
  • Select Specialty Hospital
  • Batson Kids’ Clinic
  • The Center for Advancement of Youth
  • Buildings LB and LA on Lakeland Drive

“UMMC will continue to evaluate the impact the City of Jackson water crisis is having on its facilities. The Medical Center will take a day-by-day approach to operations located at the facilities listed above,” a media release stated.

The state health department declared a public drinking water supply emergency for Jackson on Tuesday, the morning after Gov. Tate Reeves announced that the city’s treatment system had begun to fail.

READ MOREMississippi Today’s full coverage of the Jackson water crisis

Editor’s note: Kate Royals, Mississippi Today’s community health editor since January 2022, worked as a writer/editor for UMMC’s Office of Communications from November 2018 through August 2020, writing press releases and features about the medical center’s schools of dentistry and nursing.


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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.