Friday, April 3, 2020

Health Department Stonewalls Again

The Mississippi State Department of Health continues to stonewall on providing information about the Coronavirus.   Coronavirus infection of health care workers has been a major problem as infected workers transmit the virus or are unable to work.  Unfortunately, the State Department of Health refuses to disclose how many Mississippi health care workers are infected with the virus.  

This correspondent asked State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs at a press conference Tuesday how many Mississippi health care workers were infected by the virus (Watch the short video.). 

Dr. Dobbs said the Health Department is recording the infections but "we do not post it."  He said the department tries to balance the needs of the public against the anonymity of the patients.  Dr. Dobbs said it was a "significant component" but said more people were becoming infected from social gatherings.   He said "We not planning on sharing" the number of health care workers infected with the Covid-19 virus.

The State Health Officer's refusal to answer a basic question about the nature of the Covid-19 infection in Mississippi is part of a troubling pattern.  Dr. Dobbs would not provide the names of infected nursing homes at the same press conference.  Want to know how many Covid-19 patients are on ventilators? Good luck because the Health Department won't provide that information even though other states such as Louisiana do so.   Dr. Dobbs justifies the stonewall by claiming he is protecting patient information even though no one is asking for the health information or identities of individual patients. 

The infection of health care workers is no small concern.  Infected health care workers become vectors, transmitting the virus to unsuspecting patients.  The quarantine of doctors and nurses cripples health care systems.  The Minnesota Department of Health reported this week that 20% of Coronavirus infections were health care workers. KMSP reported Monday:

 State health officials say one in five of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota are health care workers.  Of the state’s 503 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 133 are health care workers, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.  Article

Ochsner Hospital reported 60 employees were infected while 300 were quarantined thanks to the virus. The quarantining of a similar number would probably cripple UMC.  160 employees of a Massachusetts medical center were quarantined after exposure to the virus.  20% of health care professionals in Lombardy, Italy became infected.  China saw over 3,000 such workers infected while  over 30 doctors died (It is thought the Chinese casualties are drastically understated.).  NBC News reported Wednesday health care workers are 18% of all Covid-19 infections in Ohio.

 Kaiser Health News dived into the weeds and attempted to explain the nature of the problem:

As the U.S. battles to limit the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus, the number of health care workers ordered to self-quarantine because of potential exposure to an infected patient is rising at an exponential pace. In Vacaville, California, alone, one case — the first documented instance of community transmission in the U.S. — left more than 200 hospital workers under quarantine and unable to work for weeks.

Across California, dozens more health care workers have been ordered home because of possible contagion in response to more than 80 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon. In Kirkland, Washington, more than a quarter of the city’s fire department was quarantined after exposure to a handful of infected patients at the Life Care Center nursing home....

 “We’re not used to being concerned, before we even do the triage assessment, [about] whether the patient is infectious and could infect hospital workers,” said Dr. Kristi Koenig, the EMS medical director of San Diego County. She said that thinking started to evolve during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Hospitals should routinely mask patients who come in with respiratory symptoms, she said, given any such patient could have an infectious disease such as tuberculosis.

Yet providers don’t often think in those terms. “In many ways we’re spoiled because we’ve gone from a society 50 or 100 years ago where the major killers were infectious disease,” said Dr. Michael Wilkes, a professor at UC Davis School of Medicine. “Now we’ve become complacent because the major killers are heart disease and diabetes.”
Faced with this new infection risk, many hospitals are scrambling to retrain workers in safety precautions, such as how to correctly don and doff personal protective equipment... Rest of article.
 The infection of health care workers with the Coronavirus in Mississippi is only going to get worse.  There is no excuse for the Health Department to withhold such information from the public.  Dr. Dobb is a public servant, not a public lord.  Other states are much more forthcoming about their pandemics. 

Mississippians are losing their jobs.  Businesses are closing.  Evictions and foreclosures will take place.  Patients will die while lives will change for the worse.  The scars will remain once this crisis passes - and it will pass.  The least the Mississippi State Department of Health can do is be open and honest with the public it is supposed to serve.


Anonymous said...

Yes, your risk of becoming infected increases the closer proximity you have to a healthcare worker. Which is one reason that telemedicine restrictions were lifted. Well, they started to be lifted and then the physician lobby (who wants to take your money) got the rules changed and won't let you get "seen" by out of state doctors. Good story on it today in Mississippi Today. Basically, MS doctors are saying "You have a risk by seeing me" and "No you can't use telemedicine to see a doc out of state." Appalling.

Anonymous said...

A lot of books and movies paint a picture of how horrible pandemics can truly be. But public panic, especially an ignorant and heavily armed public like we have in Mississippi, can be worse. If people knew the truth of how bad Covid-19 (literally a biblical plague) things could get messy really fast.
I think they are doing the right thing keeping the truth from the public.

Anonymous said...

How many grocery store cashiers are diagnosed?

Anonymous said...

That's typical of Mississippi government from top to bottom. These elected officials think they have no duty to report to the citizens and can do whatever they want. Think about how hard it is to get FOIA responses across the state. Doesn't matter if it is state, county, or local governing bodies; they all believe because they have the responsibility of administering the government they also have absolute authority.

Anonymous said...

I spent 7-8 years in state government, with a couple real jobs and a couple made-up do-nothing jobs. The number of people I worked with truly devoted to the public interest, I could count them on one hand ... that just had a horrific accident with a table saw. I know that government has problems everywhere, but Miss is especially bad.

Anonymous said...

MS politicians never lead, they watch what other states do and then bestow the mana like it was their idea all along.

MS healthcare is not about patient care, it's about the money.

Anonymous said...

8:23 am The movie script writers didn't imagine that the masses would stick their heads in the sand.

In Mississippi, we need to get the populace into the alarm mode.

I've seldom left my house since the middle of February save for essential goods I can't purchase online.

When I did, it was extremely difficult to keep people 6 feet away. People continued to violate my space and some wouldn't move back when I asked. So I moved.

Those who were social distancing, weren't mindful of their hands. Few were gloved and those who weren't ( if they used wipes going into a grocery), hadn't used sanitation after unpacking the carts , put their hands on other parts of the carts.

Anonymous said...

Why is Louisiana being so transparent with information and Mississippi hiding it? TATE REEVES, do better. Stop the coverup. We already know you sat back and waited too long to call the stay home order. Trying to hide critical info that other states are providing just makes you look more guilty.

I will never cast a vote for you again.

Kingfish said...

Tate? Oh really?

Who do you think Dobbs works for? It's not the Governor. The Board of Health appointed Dr. Dobbs and those are all Phil appointees. Governor has no more power to tell him what to do than he does the Executive Directors of Mental Health, DWFP, and other agencies run by Boards.

This stonewalling of info is all on the Health Department.

Anonymous said...

@9:05, could you imagine if the local country fried rubes took it as seriously as sportsball?

Anonymous said...

KF, have you thought about circulating a petition calling on the Dept of Heath to be more transparent in this time of crisis and meet the minimal standard being set by other states? I'd be more than happy to sign and pass it along.

TheClintonscantsuicideusall said...

It has been a pleasure driving to and from work on the lightly traveled roadways. Much fewer idiots to deal with out here. The sunshine is helping with my Vit D production. Just waiting to see what happens with this, what did another writer say, oh yes, our and heavily armed public like we have in Mississippi. This while we are in the midst of a Biblical Plague. Actually had to laugh at that one. Based on reported deaths worldwide there are over 1,000,000 dead out of a worldwide population of 7,000,000,000. Using the back of a dirty napkin I found, that works out to be 0.014% of the world. Don't know, we may get to Biblical, but reading the Bible there seems to have been many, many more catastrophic plagues back in the day. Don't worry children, death will find you regardless of your attempt to hide.

Am I sarcastic you ask, of course I am. You ask Do you think this is a hoax? No I understand there is an active virus out there, and it will never go to zero like the other viruses that continue to raise their ugly little heads at times. I also expect the Federal and Local Governments to push back dates as often as they can to see how long we will take it.

Anonymous said...

Putting some things into perspective. Many of the healthcare workers (front line) are younger (than the mean population) and predominance female. These are wonderful for all of us. The death rate is lower in this population. Perhaps 1/500. So we will have healthcare. (There will be deaths in this group as there are deaths in perfectly healthy 20, 30, and 40 year olds. And each death is tragic.) But panic should not set in.

If all the 2,000 healthcare workers at UMC were given the virus today (and they may have been), at least half will not even develop symptoms. they will never even know they had it. This is good. But staying healthy does not mean you are not a carrier. In those who have recovered (and in those never sick), carrier states persist for a significant time. Which means that healthy, smily healthcare worker you are looking at can give you the virus.

As we move forward (and it may take months), there will be two parts of the population: (1) The Beat-It-And-Clean group (BIAC), who have immunity (antibodies) and who have a negative swab for the virus, and (2) The Virgins (V), which is the now vulnerable population (no antibodies and swab negative). The BIACs are safe to work everywhere. The V's still live in March, 2020.

Anonymous said...

@9:41, I am just quoting The Jerusalem Post when I mentioned biblical plague. There is more happening simultaneously than just Covid-19.

Parting Gifts said...

Dobbs = Marshall Fisher

Anonymous said...

"Well, they started to be lifted and then the physician lobby (who wants to take your money) got the rules changed and won't let you get "seen" by out of state doctors."

That is a complete lie. Sheer and utter bullshit. The Vanderbilt medical faculty (that's in Tennessee, for you geography-challenged rubes) all now have temporary medical privileges and are set up to see Mississippi patients using telemedicine.

This was approved at least a week ago, maybe two. This came down from the Tennessee Board of Medicine, a group in whom I place a lot more trust than their counterparts below the Magnolia Border.

Anonymous said...

One issue is the lack of a two party government. First it was the Democrats who had the super majority now it is the GOP. You cannot have transparency if the government is run by one party. MS has never known what that was like. If this continues it will be to the further detriment of our citizens!

Anonymous said...

I, for one, do not need agency heads and other political appointees to protect me from the facts, for my own good. In my opinion, the premise that civil servants need to protect society from the truth runs counter the principles on which representative democracy is based.

Anonymous said...


Mississippians deserve answers. Leaving us in the dark does far more harm than it does good. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

9:38 "minimum standards set by OTHER states"?

The only state that I have seen referenced - by KF or by the real media - is Louisiana.

Please inform us what OTHER states are doing in your version of transparency.

Or do you just think that Louisiana sets the standard, and whatever they do is the ideal; don't look at any of the other 48.

Anonymous said...

@10:22 It is not a "lie" or "bullshit." Go look at the regulations. Yes, on March 15 the Medical Board did the right thing and lifted the restrictions. And then, very quietly, they changed them on March 24. So go look at Ken Cleveland's signature and apologize for your stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Okay, they tell you the numbers. What are you going to know then? What are you going to do about it? I guess the KF is putting himself in the category of a journalist now and is trying to be one of these spring-butt reporters and be responsible for uncovering some outrageous piece of information. I have no issues with them keeping some information close hold. I trust my government,
What I have no faith in is the common sense of the American public, more specifically about one-half of those living in Mississippi. I'm telling ya, when this is all over we are going to look back and see just how many unnecessary problems were caused by the news media. If the shoe fits, George Stevens (aka KF), wear it.

Anonymous said...

10:22 - don't you understand? There are a bunch of lunatic posters on this site, as well as the host at times, that don't care about details, facts, truth, or anything other than (1) their personal opinion, which is always much more informed (in their opinion) than anybody that is in authority, or (2) wanting to take partisan and/or general political potshots at the folks who are either elected or in other form hired to work for the government. Any government - national, state, or local.

Your presenting some actual facts about the doctors in Tennessee refuting the lie put above by 8:08 won't matter to him or many others.

KF's infactuation with his home state of Louisiana and what he reads in their newspaper, matched with his dislike of Dr. Dobbs gives us his unbridled opinion of what the State Health Department "should be doing" in his holy opinion.

But glad to hear occasionally someone post a fact based comment. Thanks for your attempt to correct the record, even though many won't bother to believe it since it doesn't match their agenda.

Madison Rulz said...

Don't understand why they don't share info on likely sources of how people catching it. Healthcare workers the biggest example. Store clerks also relevant. That's good info people need.

He mentioned funerals, how many and when were the funerals? This isn't USSR. They shouldn't be keeping secrets. KF didn't ask their names, so privacy issues is a BS deflection.

Kingfish said...

Dislike of Dr. Dobbs? So if I question him or criticize him, I dislike the guy? Grow up.

Anonymous said...

They aren’t being sinister or evil by withholding information. They just don’t know because they are incompetent. Beating this dead horse proves nothing we already didn’t know.

Anonymous said...

@10:22 and @11:22. Stop trying to bully and disparage. Using words like "sheer and utter bullshit" and "complete lie" and "lunatic" shows your ignorance.

Here is the "revised" state regulation. No out of state tele-docs. Good try at bullying and nonsense. It didn't work. You are both wrong.

Cut, paste, and learn something.

Anonymous said...

What 11:19 proposes sounds to me a lot like the system of government currently in China. I'm not saying the Chinese government is evil, or even wrong, just that it is not the United States of America. Our government gets its power from We the People, not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

11:32 - what damn good would it do you, or the media, or the pretend media to know what funerals, when and where?

Those funerals are OVER. They have already happened. Why in the devil do you - or anybody - need those details? Other than, you are just looking for something to bitch about.

Unless, of course, you were one of the folks who decided to ignore the directive and were present at a funeral. If that's the case you already know of the one that would matter to you.

Anonymous said...

@1:05, yeah I'm glad you got your nuclear codes. They still haven't given me mine. I also don't have the ability to track submarines or aircraft carriers. And they certainly didn't ask my permission before they invaded a bunch of countries that aren't even on our border! I was also never given a choice about what little piss ant pariah they send my tax dollars in military aid..

Anonymous said...

Look at the stock CYDY and read about what they are doing!

Anonymous said...

1:42, So then you agree with the following comment by @11:19??

"I have no issues with them keeping some information close hold. I trust my government,
What I have no faith in is the common sense of the American public, more specifically about one-half of those living in Mississippi."

In other words, do you disagree with the following? "A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

Or, are you looking for opportunities to be a snarky a-hole?


Anonymous said...

"Putting some things into perspective. Many of the healthcare workers (front line) are younger (than the mean population) and predominance female. These are wonderful for all of us. The death rate is lower in this population. Perhaps 1/500. So we will have healthcare. (There will be deaths in this group as there are deaths in perfectly healthy 20, 30, and 40 year olds. And each death is tragic.) But panic should not set in."

Can I just say, as someone whose wife works at UMCC, fuck you. Go get your healthcare somewhere else. Stop making these people your scapegoat or assuming they won't 'die' is a sure thing.

Further, if those people are sick, regardless if they die or not, they'll be out of commission for weeks, perhaps even a month. Ever try and intubate yourself?

Try being a human. Try having empathy. Those are human beings, not automatons. They don't have a shelf life, and more than you think have co-morbidities.

Anonymous said...

Poor Tater. Looks so young and lost. He is an absolute disgrace and public speaker. Make sure he is re-elected for a second term. Send this state further into the pits!!!!

Rob Watras said...

The arrogance and I’m smarter than you attitude of Dr Dobbs is too much for me to stomach. Tate may not be able to fire him, but he needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Ole Miss sports reporter in Oxford is not going to pull through. Hope he didn't think this was a hoax. Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dobbs comes across as arrogant and pompous. To withhold the names of infected nursing homes is cruel. People with family members are already cut off, getting very little to no more information. The information coming out of the facilities is scripted and cold. The word is out, most of us with a parent/spouse in a facility know the 2 in the Jackson area that have positives. We all hold our breath, pray a lot, cry a little and wait. Every time one of the aides/nurses go out to get groceries for their family, they are putting our loved ones at risk. Every time someone goes out for something that is not an absolute necessity, they are putting our loved ones at risk. Stay home people!

Anonymous said...

Finally found the post I got last week ON 3/23;



We have been asked to get completed licensing forms so providers can use telehealth to see patients with addresses in Mississippi. You were included in the list for whom the attached form needs to be completed and returned to me as soon as possible.

If additional information is needed, please contact me.

Thank you.]

Got approval the next day (I think a few thousand of us did - we're a big group). Haven't done a telemedicine assessment in Mississippi yet. This emergency license expires in 90 days, same as the ones from Kentucky, Alabama, etc.

Anonymous said...

Make sure he is re-elected for a second term.

We will. He'll win without breaking a sweat.

Anonymous said...

@9:50 That's right! The Mississippi Medical Board slammed the door shut to out of state doctors the very next day, March 24. See the link @12:23.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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