Some hospitals say operating ICU at capacity is not unusual

Some hospitals say operating ICU at capacity is not unusual

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to spike in Mississippi, two Pine Belt hospitals say their intensive care units are operating at capacity, which is not an unusual occurrence.

Dr. Stephen Farrell, with Forrest General Hospital, said the facility’s 48-bed ICU is full, and the unit has around a 25% turnover daily to create space based on the changing needs of patients.

Farrell added that operating the ICU at capacity was common even before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hospitals across the state are very busy right now. FGH is extremely busy. We serve a 19-county area, and we are very busy in general,” said Farrell. “Even when COVID wasn’t here, we were at near capacity at all times.”

At South Central Regional Medical Center, Dr. W. Mark Horne said the hospital’s ICU is also full.

Horne said some of those patients need the critical care because of COVID-19. Others have different needs.

Horne said SCRMC operating its 13-bed ICU at or near capacity is not usual during the flu season.

Farrell and Horne did say that both hospitals are prepared to treat COVID-19 patients, but another large wave of cases could stress equipment and personnel resources.

WDAM has also reached out to Merit Health Wesley for information about its ICU. We are still waiting for a response.

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