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Hospital administrator asks public to get vaccinated due to increase in cases

With cases of COVID-19 reportedly going up with in Pearl River County, Highland Community Hospital Administrator Bryan Maxie urges residents to take precautions and get the vaccine.

Currently, Pearl River County is considered to be a hot spot for new COVID-19 cases, especially from the new Delta variant.

Of the cases hospital staff have seen recently, 93 percent involve people who have not received the vaccine, he said. According to Maxie, only about 25 percent of Pearl River County residents have been vaccinated.

“I’m making a plea to the public to do it for yourself if for no one else,” Maxie said.

The new Delta variant is said to be more contagious and causes more complications, especially for those who have not received the vaccine. Maxie said that most of those who contract the Delta variant but  have been vaccinated typically can receive mediations and go back home to recover. However, those who have not received the vaccine seem to be sicker and therefore require medical attention during a stay in the hospital.

Currently Highland Community Hospital has 13 patients in the hospital with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two are pending. The total capacity at the hospital is 42 patients, which includes the patients being treated for COVID. Maxie said the hospital has a total licensed capacity of 49 beds.

The uptick in cases has caused the hospital to re-implement a number of safety procedures for staff and visitors. That means visitors and patients can only enter the facility through the front door or through the ER, and staff are being screened for a fever. Visitors to the hospital are required to wear a mask and can only visit one patient. Additionally that patient can only have two visitors per day.  While visiting that patient, the visitor must wear a mask the entire time. Visitors are only allowed in the hospital from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and no one younger than 12 is allowed to visit a patient.

Maxie said that anyone who decides to visit a patient in the hospital should be aware that coming to the hospital could expose them to the virus.

Vaccinations are available at any pharmacy, clinic or other medical care facility. Maxie said that hospital staff can assist people who are interested in getting the vaccine by calling to get more information.

From the start of this month until July 26, there have been 1,291 people who have tested positive for the virus, of which 653 needed hospital care in the state.