Mississippi health officials say nearly 1,000 hospital beds that could be used to treat patients during the state’s latest coronavirus outbreak are understaffed due to a shortage of healthcare workers.
While Mississippi has a record number of people hospitalized with the virus – 1,633 on Tuesday, according to the state health department.
“We still don’t have the staff we need for the beds we need,” said Jim Craig, a senior deputy at the Mississippi Department of Health, during a virtual press briefing Wednesday.
Craig said 73 hospitals in Mississippi have requested more than 1,451 staff members to treat patients. More than 250 people were waiting for beds in Mississippi emergency departments Wednesday morning, health officials said.
If these positions were filled, the state could staff 771 medical and surgical beds and 235 intensive care beds, Craig said.
Mississippi is one of the lowest paid health care states. State health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said this is one of the reasons for the departure of health workers.