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Mississippi issues patient transfer order amid COVID-19 surge

The Mississippi Health Department is ordering all hospitals in the state to allow the transfer of critically ill patients.

JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi Health Department is ordering all hospitals in the state to allow the transfer of critically ill patients.

It's an effort to help people in rural areas receive care as the state continues to see a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. 

The department said Tuesday that a system called Mississippi MED-COM will direct patients to places that have space and resources. 

The University of Mississippi Medical Center often takes transfer patients from smaller hospitals. 

Leaders at UMMC say that the medical center has a staffing shortage — partly because of vacant jobs and partly because workers have tested positive for the virus.