'Where are you?' Miss. governor blasted as hospital clears out  parking garage to house COVID-19 patients
Tate Reeves (Screen Grab)

With Mississippi nearly out of ICU beds — and officials in Jackson clearing out a parking garage to house COVID-19 patients — one hospital CEO has a simple question for Republican Gov. Tate Reeves.

"Hospitals and healthcare workers need you to help us. Where are you?" Neshoba County General Hospital CEO Lee McCall wrote on Twitter in a message to Reeves on Tuesday. "We are overwhelmed with the surge of Covid and understaffed to safely care for our patients. Our incredible staff are holding it together but we are all at our breaking point."

The answer to McCall's question, according Mississippi Today journalist Adam Ganucheau, is that Reeves is out of state attending a Republican Governors Association candidate conference.

"Nearly everyone in the state — medical, government and education leaders and voters on the political right and left — is asking: Where is our governor?" Ganucheau wrote Tuesday. "Gov. Tate Reeves is holed up most days at the Governor's Mansion, according to people close to the governor. Reeves, who has defiantly rejected issuing any new statewide orders, has isolated himself from many of his closest advisers in recent weeks. He's holding no press conferences, decidedly not making himself available to the public as he did earlier in the pandemic. Right now, as the crisis reaches its biggest inflection point, he's out of state at a Republican Governors Association candidate conference."

On Monday, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs reported that "in the coming days, we will have ZERO ICU beds at Level 1-3 hospitals."

On Tuesday, the state came close to breaking its record for most COVID-19 patients hospitalized at any time during the pandemic, thanks in part to the highly contagious Delta variant.

In Jackson, the University of Mississippi Medical Center had broken its COVID-19 hospitalization record for three straight days.

"The University of Mississippi Medical Center is clearing out space in the bottom floor of a parking garage to prepare for the construction of a field hospital to handle the burden of an overwhelming influx of new COVID-19 patients. With no staff available to work the excess space, the hospital is requesting federal support in the form of medical professionals to bolster an exhausted and overworked care team," the Mississippi Free Press reported Wednesday morning.