‘Where Are You?’: Hospitals Beg Gov. Reeves For Help With 0 ICU Beds Left Statewide

Governor Tate Reeves speaks at the Neshoba County fair in 2019
As the COVID-19 delta variant ravages the state, Gov. Tate Reeves has remained largely quiet about the pandemic. After returning home from a trip to Florida, he told a crowd at the Neshoba County Fair that he considered the federal mask guidance "foolish" and has rejected calls for mask mandates in schools. Neshoba County has since experienced the largest surge in cases over the last two weeks. Gov. Reeves is seen here while speaking at the fair in 2019. Photo by Ashton Pittman

With no intensive-care beds left in the state, Mississippi reached a new record for patients in an ICU yesterday with 371, surpassing the prior record of 360 set on Jan. 12, 2021. More Mississippians are now on a ventilator than ever before, with the 234 beating the prior record of 230 on Jan. 6. In all, 1,410 residents were hospitalized for the virus yesterday—just below the record 1,444 patients recorded on Jan. 4.

The Mississippi State Department of Health this morning also reported the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases yet. Today’s report of 3,488 cases exceeds the prior pandemic record of 3,203 cases that MSDH reported on Jan. 9, 2021.

MSDH also reported an additional 36 deaths, the highest death toll for one day reported in months.

“Based on historical trends – this will translate into around 73 deaths in coming days, almost all preventable,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted this morning. “I have reverted to listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers in AM – a long standing indication of irrepressible frustration for me.”

In Neshoba County, which currently has the state’s highest rate for new cases per capita, Neshoba General Hospital CEO Lee McCall tweeted a plea to Gov. Tate Reeves today.

@tatereeves hospitals and healthcare workers need you to help us.  Where are you?  We are overwhelmed with the surge of Covid and understaffed to safely care for our patients.  Our incredible staff are holding it together but we are all at our breaking point,” McCall wrote.

Two weeks earlier, Reeves criticized the Centers For Disease Control’s recommendations for public masking in schools and areas with high transmission while speaking to a maskless crowd at the Neshoba County Fair.

“Tuesday’s change in the CDC mask guidance is foolish and it is harmful,” Reeves, who mandated masks in schools last year but opposes mask requirements this year, said on July 29. “It reeks of political panic so as to appear they are in control. It has nothing to do with rational science. In Mississippi, we believe in freedom. In Mississippi, it is our belief in God that has gotten us through this last year and a half. And it is my belief in God that gives me great optimism for what is to come in our great state.”

At the time of the fair, Neshoba County’s vaccination rate was the lowest in the state at just 21% fully vaccinated (that number has since risen to 27%). 

In an Aug. 2 episode of MFP Live, Dr. Dobbs told the Mississippi Free Press that he expected to see outbreaks from the fair, which drew thousands of attendees this year, especially due to the crowded fair cabins there. In the two weeks since the Neshoba County Fair drew thousands of visitors to the area, cases have risen 605% compared to a 116% increase statewide over the same period.

Watch, listen or read/search full transcript of State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs explaining on MFP Live how the delta variant spreads, its dangers and specific safety precautions from school assemblies, to flying, to masking.

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