The Board of Alderman voted to adopt a mask mandate that applies indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible during a special meeting on Tuesday. The mandate applies to everyone six years of age and older.
“Our hospital system is, quite honestly, failing. Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi declared an internal disaster earlier today,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said.
Medical supplies and healthcare workers have been exhausted in Lafayette County. This morning the City of Oxford made a formal request for a military mobile hospital to be set up next to the hospital that will accommodate overflow patients.
This would add 50 more beds and 35 military healthcare professionals to assist Baptist Memorial. The city is currently waiting to hear if this can be provided.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Ninety eight percent of the people in the hospital are unvaccinated. It is not about whether or not you are going to die from COVID. It is about whose life you’re going to cost because you’re in that hospital bed unvaccinated,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill said unvaccinated people are further prolonging the pandemic, and denying resources locally to those who need it.
“If you’re unvaccinated in the hospital, you are demanding every resource our community has, and you are denying that for people who have no choice, who have a car wreck or have a heart attack,” Tannehill said.
As of Aug. 24, there are 46 COVID patients in the hospital and out of the 24 ICU beds, 13 are taken by Covid patients. 47 positive cases were reported in Lafayette County today.
Dr. Michael Corey, a physician from the emergency department at Baptist Memorial, was invited to speak at the meeting.
“Our emergency room is at its stress point. We’re in a very difficult and unprecedented time for what we do. We are at max capacity locally, and all the other hospitals we work with in the region are also at max capacity,” Corey said.
Intake of unvaccinated patients in ICU units is affecting the treatment of patients who suffer severe injuries and need immediate care from multiple levels of hospital staff.
“We have had a very difficult time getting patients with complicated strokes, trauma patients and other very complicated medical or surgical patients to higher levels of care. We have no more strings to pull and no more room to squeeze,” Corey said. “This is not just here in Oxford. This is in every bit of the state, region and the nation.”
The Board will continue to meet weekly and reassess the mask mandate. The meeting concluded with a 4-3 vote in favor of the mask mandate.