[UPDATE] Baptist Memorial to receive state help amidst internal disaster, offer vaccinations

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

This article has been updated as of  11:18 a.m. on August 25.

Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi has declared a state of internal disaster according to Mayor Robyn Tannehill during the Board of Alderman’s special meeting.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting 3,385 more cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, 22 deaths, and 186 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. The state has a total of 420,174 cases and 8,180 deaths and 1,125,877 people are fully vaccinated.

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Lafayette County has 14 new cases and no deaths or LTC facility outbreaks. This brings the county to a total of 7304 cases, 129 deaths and 190 LTC facility outbreaks.

Although MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been stabilizing in the past week, the hospital is reckoning with the record number of cases that peaked higher than the number of cases in January.

Tannehill said the board called a special meeting because the hospital’s system is failing and the city has requested a mobile hospital, which will provide 50 extra beds.

“Everything we thought would happen last time COVID peaked is happening now and its worse than anticipated,” she said on Tuesday afternoon.

As of today, Baptist Memorial has 45 confirmed COVID patients and 12 patients in the hospital’s ICU. Of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 98% are unvaccinated stated Tannehill.

Dr. Michael Koury, an emergency physician at Baptist Memorial, stated the emergency room is taxed and at full capacity. The hospital is taking a triage approach to patients that come into the emergency room and hospital, treating the most serious first and working down to the least serious, according to Koury.

In an effort to increase vaccination rates and fight the coronavirus, Baptist Memorial is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday, August 26 and Sunday, August 29.

On August 26, employees, employees’ family members, contract workers, vendors and community members can be vaccinated from 12 to 5 p.m. in the Magnolia Room. Only employees, employees’ family members, contract workers and vendors from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. that same day.

On August 29, only community members can be vaccinated from 6 to 7 p.m in the hospital cafeteria, while employees, employees’ family members, contract workers and vendors can take their dose from 6 to 9 p.m.

The hospital will offer Pfizer and Moderna and suggest that if you have a vaccine preference to come early. The hospital encourages the community to call 662-636-4353 to schedule an appointment. The line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, all walk-ins are welcome.

The Eagle has reached out to Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi representatives and will update with a statement.