Southeast hospitals watch for more potential tornadoes

After severe weather in the Southeast turned into tornadoes late in the afternoon on Nov. 29, hospitals in Mississippi and Arkansas braced for potential impact but didn't report changes in care coordination. 

At least 15 tornadoes touched ground across the two states, according to ABC News, and a tornado watch remains in effect until noon EST for parts of Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, according to the National Weather Service. 

Jackson, Miss.-based St. Dominic Hospital told Becker's it issued a "pre-alert" to its staff but had not altered operating schedules. Ashley Butsch, the spokesperson for Pascagoula, Miss.-based Singing River Health, said the system planned to fully operate and, in case of an emergency, the buildings "are designed to the latest FEMA wind ratings and have a generator power system as a backup if needed."

Mississippi's Healthcare Preparedness Program Director Teresa Jones said her department's nine emergency planners contacted the state's hospitals Nov. 29 "to provide a check-in to ensure they were aware of the upcoming weather status and to remind them to follow the EOP [emergency operation plan] each facility has in place."

The Louisiana Hospital Association and Alabama Hospital Association did not immediately respond to Becker's requests for comment. 

In Arkansas, where the threat of tornadoes is not statewide like Mississippi, the state's hospital association said various facilities have contracted alternate care sites and set plans for watches versus warnings and how they will move patients.

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