- At least 2,000 Mississippi nurses have resigned since the beginning of the year, according to a report from CNN.
- Nurses told CNN they’re resigning over burnout from a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the Delta variant.
- The shortfall of nurses comes as the state set a new record Tuesday for COVID-19 deaths in a single day.
At least 2,000 nurses in Mississippi have resigned since the beginning of the year, according to a report from CNN, leaving hospitals understaffed as the Delta variant continues to ravage the state.
“It looks heroic,” Nichole Atherton, a nurse who resigned from Singing River Ocean Springs Hospital, told CNN. “But that’s not what it is. It’s sweaty and hard and chaotic and bloody. And it’s hard to live in this every day and then go home and live a normal life.”
When CNN asked Buddy Gager, nursing manager for personal care at Singing River Ocean Springs Hospital, if the state’s healthcare system was reaching a breaking point, he replied, “I think we already broke.”
At a news conference on Tuesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said Mississippi set a new record for COVID-19 deaths in one day: 111 deaths were reported, in a state with a population slightly under 3 million.
Yet at least 771 medical-surgical and 235 intensive care unit beds in the state were going unused last week due to a lack of staff to man them, according to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center was forced to open two field hospitals in its parking garage to house COVID-19 patients that the hospital didn’t have beds for, according to the Associated Press. One hospital in the state has begun canceling brain and heart surgeries due to a lack of ICU beds to house the patients waiting for them, as Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova reported, while another was forced to close its neurosurgery clinic completely as most of its federal COVID-19 relief money had been exhausted.
Lee Bond, the head of the Singing River Hospital System, told CNN that he is urging the state to use some of its $1.8 billion in COVID-19 relief funds on retention bonuses for nurses to keep them from quitting.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced at the Tuesday news conference that more than 1,000 contract healthcare workers are headed to Mississippi to try and meet staffing demands in 50 of the state’s hospitals. Reeves said the federal government will reimburse the state for $80 million that it will have to pay to the supplemental healthcare workers.