Over 1,000 Mississippi hospital beds not in use due to worker shortage

If Mississippi’s hospitals were adequately staffed amid the current COVID-19 resurgence, they could open over 1,000 additional beds statewide, health officials said Wednesday.

Seventy-three Mississippi hospitals have collectively asked the state for roughly 1,450 health care workers, said Jim Craig, senior deputy and director of health protection for the Mississippi State Department of Health. Because of staff shortages in the state, he noted, 771 medical-surgical and 235 intensive care unit beds are unused.

“The pressure on the health care system is terrifying and unnecessary,” Craig said. “The governor’s office and MEMA working to contract additional health care resources to assist in those staffing projects.”

Last-ditch efforts to revive the state’s health care systems have led to bringing in federal health care workers and building two field hospitals in University of Mississippi Medical Center garages. 

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