Emergency field hospital could come to county

Photo: DeSoto County EMS Director Mark Davis describe the county’s COVID-19 situation during a recent meeting. (File Photo)

DeSoto County is calling out to the state for help in stifling the surge of COVID-19 cases in the county. 

During Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in Hernando, county Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Mark Davis reported the county has seen 870 new cases of coronavirus since the last board meeting took place on Monday, Aug. 2. There have been five deaths in the same period, Davis said.  

Davis asked and received support for two items. One was for the county to request the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency open a COVID-19 emergency field hospital in DeSoto County.  

Two such hospitals have already been opened in Mississippi. One is being established by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in one of the hospital’s parking garages with the help of the Christian relief charity organization Samaritan’s Purse, founded by the late evangelist Billy Graham’s son Franklin. Samaritan’s Purse has set up field hospitals in other cities hard hit by the surging numbers of coronavirus.  

Another request that Davis made of the Board of Supervisors was that the Mississippi State Department of Health open a testing site in DeSoto County due to a lack of availability in the county.  

DeSoto County also remains in a emergency declaration through at least the next board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7. This allows the county to make special purchases allowed without bids during the emergency declaration period.  

On Monday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported an additional 7,839 COVID-19 cases over the past weekend in the state, along with 52 additional deaths. None of the additional deaths were in DeSoto County, which has totaled 288 virus-related victims for the pandemic. 

DeSoto County has seen 24,982 cases of coronavirus since March 2020’s declaration of the pandemic.  

Prior to the information being released, the New York Times reported that DeSoto County has had an average of 118 new cases of coronavirus a day in the past two weeks, an increase of 151 percent from the average two weeks ago.  Hospitalizations in DeSoto County were up 125 percent in the last two weeks, ending Sunday and the test positivity rate is at 18 percent.  

On Aug. 15, MSDH showed 1,539 confirmed virus infections in hospitals and 431 patients in an intensive care unit.  A total of 291 patients were on ventilators.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Monday continued to be pressured by those who believe a mask mandate would ease the onslaught of rising COVID-19 cases in the state.  

Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Tyree Irving Monday released a statement urging Gov. Tate Reeves to enact a mask mandate in the state. Irving also urged the Mississippi Republican Party to join Democrats in the call for the mandate. 

Late Monday night, it was reported that U.S. experts will be recommending that all vaccinated Americans should get a booster shot eight months after getting the second vaccine. 

Meanwhile north of the state line, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee released an executive order allowing parents of K-12 school children to opt out of any mask mandates schools in the state may initiate. Shelby County Schools, in the Memphis metro, currently requires masks for students, teachers, staff, and employees, and school officials are seeking legal advice on the order.  

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