Mississippi health officials say almost 1,000 hospital beds that could be used to treat patients during the latest surge of coronavirus in the state are unstaffed because of a shortage of healthcare workers.
That's while Mississippi is facing a record number of people hospitalized with the virus — 1,633 on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health.
"We're still nowhere near the staff we need for the beds we need," said Jim Craig, senior deputy for the Mississippi Department of Health, during a virtual briefing with press Wednesday.
Craig said 73 hospitals in Mississippi requested over 1,451 staff members to treat patients. More than 250 people were waiting in Mississippi emergency rooms for beds Wednesday morning, according to health officials.
If those positions were filled, the state could staff 771 medical-surgical beds and 235 intensive care unit beds, Craig said.
Mississippi is one of the lowest-paying states for healthcare workers. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that is one reason why healthcare workers have left.