Deaths in hospitalized COVID patients was the highest in early 2021

Published 10:02 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

In a report from the Mississippi Department of Health, Mississippi recorded more COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the last quarter of 2020, while the highest number of in-hospital deaths were occurred in the first quarter of 2021.

The MSDH reported 2,594 more cases of COVID-19, 65 deaths, and 113 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the state. The statewide total is 471,092 cases and 9,165 deaths, and 1,254,522 persons have been fully vaccinated.

Lafayette County reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 and two LTC facility outbreaks. There have been no deaths.

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As of September 14, Mississippi hospitals have 1,098 patients with confirmed COVID infection, 57 with suspected infection, 385 in an ICU and 265 on ventilators.

The MSDH analyzed data discharge data related to COVID-19 hospitalizations in Mississippi from Mar. 3, 2020 until Mar. 3, 2021. The analyses includes the patient primary reason for admission to the hospital and conditions that coexisted at the time of admission or affect the treatment.

Of all the COVID-19 hospitalizations, 9,245 patients (28.8%) were admitted to the ICU and 4,425 (13.8%) of those patients were put on ventilators. The total hospital mortality rate was 14.8%, but in-hospital ICU mortality was 37.4% and in-hospital ventilator rate was 67.4%.

During that one-year period, there were 32,098 COVID-19 associated hospital discharges and 30, 349 (94.6%) were Mississippi residents. The number of in-hospital deaths were 4,761, which counted for 14.8% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 31.7% of all in-hospital deaths.

In-hospital mortality for the state was at the highest during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, the number of deaths that occurred in hospitals declined, they still remain worryingly high causing staffing shortages and strains upon the Mississippi health care system.

Hospitals in metropolitan areas were impacted largely by the COVID-19 hospitalizations, but hospitals in micropolitan cities experienced the highest in-hospital mortality rates in the state. This data is attributed to the facilities’ incapabilities to care for the influx of patients.

Rural areas in Mississippi did not have the critical care capacity to treat COVID-19 patients and only make up 11.6% of COVID hospitalizations and 5.1% of in-hospital deaths.

Mississippi’s overall in-hospital mortality was highest at the beginning of the pandemic. Then, in-hospital deaths showed an overall slight downtrend but remained disturbingly high, spiking during periods of high transmission and strained hospital capacity.

These findings were particularly pronounced for severely ill patients in need of critical care. In-hospital mortality among patients in ICUs was highest during the first quarter of 2021 and in-hospital mortality among patients on ventilators increased at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.