Mississippi hospitals request more than 1,450 healthcare workers to address staff shortage

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Mississippi health officials said hospitals there are requesting backup as they grapple with inadequate staffing amid the latest COVID-19 wave, according to the Clarion Ledger.

"Staffing for hospitals remains a critical need around the state, and we're still nowhere near the staffing we need for the beds we need," Jim Craig, senior deputy and director of health protection for the Mississippi State Department of Health, told reporters Aug. 18.

Mr. Craig said 73 hospitals have requested from the state more than 1,450 healthcare workers.  The additional staffing, he noted, would open 771 medical-surgical beds and 235 intensive care unit beds that are unstaffed.

He said the governor's office and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency are "working to contract additional healthcare resources to assist in those staffing projects."

The staffing strain comes as 251 Mississippians were waiting in emergency rooms for a hospital bed as of 8 a.m. CDT Aug. 18, and six ICU beds were available, with 46 people waiting on those beds, according to Mr. Craig.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center opened a field hospital Aug. 13 in the system's parking garage, and the Jackson-based organization has since opened a second one.

Mr. Craig said an order issued Aug. 18 also certified emergency medical services workers in the state to provide patient care in state-licensed hospitals, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Read the full Clarion Ledger report here

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