Montgomery County’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has proven to be successful this far, according to the latest numbers from the Mississippi Department of Health.
As of press time Wednesday, Montgomery County posted 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up two confirmed cases from last week.
Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital reported that 138 tests have been given so far, and two tests are currently pending. Those numbers do not reflect mobile testing on Tuesday, organized by Cspire and University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“You can tell our numbers are slowing,” said Cori Bailey, chief operating officer for Tyler Holmes. “People are recovering. Cases are slowing down, and testing is slowing down.”
Bailey said she attributes the slow down to Montgomery County’s citizens remaining vigilant about following the state’s shelter-in-place order and social distancing.
“Be safe. Be safer at home,” Bailey said.
With the COVID-19 pandemic greatly altering business at Mississippi’s rural hospitals, Bailey said Tyler Holmes is “holding their own.”
Some hospitals have seen dramatic decreases in revenue due to the cancelations of non-essential surgeries and drastic decreases in the number of patients. The loss in revenue has caused some hospitals to lay-off or furlough employees.
In early March, prior to COVID-19 precautions began, 31 rural hospitals were considered “at high financial risk,” according to the Clarion Ledger. With new policies in place for COVID-19 prevention, those hospitals find themselves at an even greater risk.
However, Tyler Holmes was not among those considered vulnerable.
Bailey said although the daily patient census, number of patients currently in-patient at the hospital, is down, Tyler Holmes has not been forced to lay-off staff, although hours have been cut due to having fewer patients.
“We have six patients currently in the hospital,” Bailey said. “That is about half of our normal census.”
Bailey said although Tyler Holmes is not feeling the pinch of canceling non-essential surgeries like other hospitals, the hospital is feeling the effects in their swing-bed and physical therapy departments.
“With elective surgery canceled, we are not having a need for physical therapy,” Bailey said. “We are not having physical therapy on the out-patient side, but we continue to have them for in-patient.”
Bailey said the hospital did receive funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the federal government has approved accelerated payments through Medicare. However, if accelerated payments are received, hospitals will be forced to re-pay the funds within 120 days.
“Congress is pushing to have those [accelerated payments] forgiven,” said Bailey.