Statement on COVID-19

updated 3:00 p.m. December 24, 2021

People ask me if I am concerned about Omicron. Right now, I must admit, Omicron pales in comparison to concerns I have for the:

  • Alarming shortage of RN’s in the State of Mississippi;  
  • Impending effects of inflation on our society; and
  • Inability of employers to find people willing to work. 

If these problems were solved, Omicron (or even another wave of Delta) would be manageable. But without solutions, I believe many parts of the state of Mississippi in particular and the region will suffer long-term economic damage in higher proportion than other parts of the country.  While we will always do what it takes here at Singing River to find ways to thrive, it will not be easy. I wish that the media and the government were doing more to help us solve these problems (like giving us the designated money we need for our Save the Lifesavers program).

Instead, the media is overreacting to Omicron when it should be reacting to the actual RN and other labor shortages. The impact on not-for-profits like us that serve a high proportion of indigent and Medicaid without income makes it especially difficult. Meanwhile, the government is prioritizing water and sewer infrastructure and increased unemployment benefits instead of focusing on educating, training, and developing a healthy workforce. 

When it comes to fighting the pandemic, as I have said before, education is the number one missing piece in our world today. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” However, we do not use it often enough. In its place, politics and sensationalism rule. While vaccinations are the most effective arrow in our quiver, we should be re-educating and re-emphasizing in new and innovative ways how effective it is to:

  1. Wash your hands; it sounds simple, but very few do it frequently enough and it is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread;
  2. Not touch your face (“ditto”);
  3. Not invade personal space and avoid being a close talker; and
  4. Isolate if ill – this would be more effective than mask wearing if people would do this, but we hear people that should be isolated at home coughing and hacking in so many settings…   

Someone told me the other day that we should start shaming coughers who venture into public settings or placing stickers on the backs of people who do not wash their hands. I couldn’t help but wonder whether that would be effective… 

About Omicron

  • Severity: it appears from a few early studies that it is less severe than other strains even though it is more contagious.  This is no surprise at all and congruent with the expected viral evolution.
  • Spread Velocity: Within just a week it has gone from a minor percentage to the most predominant strain. It spreads at about twice the rate of other variants. It is more infectious and has more mutations, many of those mutations are in the spike protein, which is what helps the virus spread cellularly.  
  • Vaccine Efficacy: Vaccines and prior infection are not quite as effective as they were for prior variants.
  • Treatments: Our Clinical Pharmacist Chris Ayers tells me that both Regeneron and the Bamlanivimab/etesivimab combo have little efficacy against Omicron because of a particular spike mutation not present in the other variants, and it appears Sotrovimab is the most effective treatment at this point.  The challenge with using Sotrovimab is the US total distribution is extremely limited. Last week only 55,000 total doses went out, with Mississippi only receiving 192 total doses. 
  • Concerns: because Omicron symptoms are so mild, a lot of people may not get tested and go through the holidays spreading it exponentially, with only the vulnerable suffering the consequences.
  • Risk: the risk is primarily to the vulnerable unvaccinated elderly and immunocompromised population, no matter how virulent it may be to the average person.

“The CoViD Pill”

In other news, Pfizer received FDA emergency use authorization approval for an oral antiviral drug to help treat CoViD once contracted.  Paxlovid, which combines a new antiviral drug called Nirmatrelvir and an existing older one called Ritonavir, is administered in a regimen of three pills twice a day for five days. It has been shown to cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% if given to high-risk adults within a few days of the onset of their first symptoms. Availability will be very limited initially, with allocations to states on a pro-rata basis until ample supply is available. 


I hope you all have a good Christmas and get to spend time, between working, with your families over the next week (but not give them CoViD!). Please wash your hands often, especially before you eat. Please “stay out of each other’s faces!” at your gatherings. If you isolate because you feel sick or are coughing, you are not a scrooge. In fact, isolating when slightly ill might make you a rare saint. 

It’s been a rough year, but we must continue to count our innumerable blessings. Speaking of those blessings, special thanks to those of you who are here with us today, tonight (and tomorrow!) working, allowing a few of your coworkers to spend a little family time, thank you to all for the teamwork.

Merry Christmas, and let’s hope for a Happy New Year!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 1:00 p.m. November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving is upon us, and we are most deeply thankful for those altruistic front line caregiving souls who selflessly continue to do what it takes to improve health and save lives. These efforts will forever be a testament to what makes this community Singing River Strong! 

Many times we have felt the pandemic has been a war of sorts, and perhaps now more so than ever. War disrupts the social and economic foundation of the places involved in it. In what we could call the emerging “post-war era” of recovery, we face challenges on par with the war itself, including both tactical and psychological hurdles that are monumental. The national labor shortage has negatively impacted so many businesses and professions. All jobs are important but the shortage of front line caregivers, particularly in the state of Mississippi, is cause for serious alarm because people’s lives are literally on the line in this state. We have proposed a bridge solution we call “Save the Life Savers”​ to coincide with our plan to build a workforce development pipeline for the longer term.  


We are completely in favor of vaccination and believe wholeheartedly that it is safe and effective. The math is indisputable – hardly any adverse outcomes after 7.6 billion doses administered. The science behind how it works is also relatively simple.  It is such a shame that political division has caused so many false prophets to make untrue statements on Facebook that sound believable but are completely false. Moreover, the lack of critical thinking on the operational impact of a mandate is distressing, particularly on healthcare workers. If there were an excess of professional caregivers available I might actually support the mandate. But there are not. The shortage is unprecedented. Policymakers have lost sight of the big picture that our most important mission is to save lives. Implementing the mandate will cause a material percentage of people who have some uncertainty, partially government-imposed, to quit. Our highest calling is to save lives – and right now we need every qualified hand we can get in Mississippi, which happens to include some people who are not vaccinated.   

Again I will say that I believe the vaccines are safe, but I also believe that the people who have fought hard for humanity for the past two years all across this country should not be terminated. Terminating a hero, even if the hero’s beliefs were errant, is nonsensical.  

While several states have been successful in filing a lawsuit actually delaying the mandate for businesses, hospitals fall under a different regulation by CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) and are set to face accreditation revocation, possibly not get paid by Medicare & Medicaid, and face fines and penalties starting December 5 if all healthcare workers do not comply with the mandate. There is another set of lawsuits that have been filed against CMS that may help delay the mandate, but it is indeterminate at this point as to whether they might be successful.

Let’s hope logic and humanity can overrule political division. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 5:00 p.m. October 31, 2021

While we are relieved and extremely grateful for the dramatic decrease in CoViD-19 hospitalizations (only 7 individuals currently hospitalized), we have not escaped the wake of the wrath of CoViD quite yet. Hospitals throughout Mississippi are now staring down the manifestation of an equally if not more daunting crisis, the RN Shortage.

While all jobs are important, the regional RN crisis, in particular, is approaching a pinnacle. And while you cannot blame anyone for traveling to make the most they can, the altruism of those who have selflessly stayed in this community is both indelible and respected. I and others here wish we had $30 million dollars or more to divide among our thousands of front line loyal fearless soldiers who stayed. We have pleaded with the state to give just 25% of the $1.8 billion dollars in federal funds they are receiving directly to the employees of the not-for-profit health systems like ours who do not have these funds, instead of using the money for other purposes. 

In the last few weeks, more Mississippi RN’s have exited the state for contracts in more affluent areas of the country, offering high incentives completely independent of current CoViD status in those locations.  Most of the state-contracted MEMA nurses assigned to help fill gaps will work their last day today. Hospitals like ours across the state are struggling to staff their units without them. The State of Mississippi will lose over 500 staffed beds in total upon their exit. We at Singing River will find a way to continue to provide A-rated care top-quality care, in spite of this challenge.  We will rise up as we always do, but it would be more tenable if we had additional incentive assistance. 

Nearly all not-for-profit, governmental hospitals operate on a strictly limited cash flow, with no extra funds to pay the high rates of MEMA/FEMA level and out-of-state contracts to afford travel nursing for the long term without going completely bankrupt. The short-term payments they have used to stay afloat and keep quality care accessible in our communities have now crippled the financials of these not-for-profit hospitals. This is an urgent issue and Mississippi must change these dynamics.  Singing River has been sounding the alarm about the critical frontline healthcare worker shortage and the need for funds since August, pleading for action and consideration of our Save the Life Savers proposal to help address this crisis.

Many RN’s in the country have retired, left the profession, migrated to outpatient-only settings, or elected to stay permanently in the places they moved to due to those high-profit areas having the funds available to pay them.  Mississippi hospitals are disproportionately negatively affected by not having the nearly $1 billion of federal Medicaid funds (which in fairness to those opposed to Medicaid expansion does cost the state a minority match) that other states have to help pay RN’s at a competitive rate. Mississippi hospitals do not get this money like other states do.  Another challenge we face is that Mississippi is a very unhealthy state, burdened with chronic illness, thus making patients more difficult to care for than in other healthier states. And, we are also one of the poorest states, with less revenue available to be used for the overwhelming uninsured medical care costs and to provide competitive RN compensation compared to other states.  

Please see the related articles below featuring one of our own nurses for more insight:


At the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs Dr. Alan Jones said the hospital can’t compete with what travel companies are offering. On a recent Wednesday morning, Jones said that about 26 patients were stuck in the emergency room, even though they were admitted to the hospital. There weren’t enough staffed beds opened for the patients to be transferred to the appropriate care units.

Out of options, Mississippi health care leaders are asking the Legislature to create a new program that uses federal coronavirus aid to cover checks to incentivize nurses to stay at the state’s struggling hospitals. 

Mississippi being less healthy, less wealthy, and not having the federal Medicaid dollars leaves it disproportionately affected,” said Bond, the hospital CEO. 

The long-term consequences could be deadly. 

“One thing that could keep you from having your life saved is not having an RN.”

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System | Source: Mississippi Today

Singing River is not alone in our fight. A group of Chief Nursing Officers has also submitted a letter to State leaders asking them for assistance.

How can you help? 

updated 1:00 p.m. October 19, 2021

We are down to 12 CoViD patients hospitalized from a high of more than 150 between the three hospitals in Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and Gulfport. For the family and friends of those 12, it is as tough as it has ever been. 

We are in a much better place, but the damage the pandemic has done to our state’s health system lingers, leaving us with higher drug and labor costs, and most acutely a genuine shortage of RN’s in this state which has disproportionately affected Mississippi’s healthcare infrastructure. Click here or below to learn more about our “Save the Life Savers” plan we’ve proposed to the state legislature to help combat Mississippi’s critical front line healthcare worker shortage.

The majority of questions we have received lately center around boosters and natural immunity which I will discuss below. But the main thing we are seeing is the impact of delayed selfcare. Routine maintenance checkups and screenings are more important than ever to avoid severe illness after this prolonged period, now is the time to get selfcare back on track.

I encourage you, whether it is through our system or somewhere else, to take care of yourself by getting checked out when something does not seem exactly right, or if you have a family history of certain conditions.  An ounce of prevention or early detection can save your life.

To learn more about our post-CoViD Healthcare is Selfcare initiative, visit our Facebook page, click here or below.

Booster Shots – What You Need to Know

The CDC recommends a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for those age 65 and older, or 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions or severely compromised immune systems, six months after completing their primary series (i.e., the first two doses). 

FDA approval is expected very soon (stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates) for Moderna or J&J boosters, although those immunocompromised can receive a Moderna booster shot now with a doctor’s order under the current EUA. Click here or below for more info.

Natural Immunity – Do those with prior infection need a vaccination?

Those with natural immunity from prior infection may be protected for quite a while but experts recommend the vaccine for them still at some point because a.) it is safe and b.) the vaccine provides a more consistent level of immunity (and protects against other/future variants as well).  

36% of infections result in little to no post-virus antibody production, and natural immunity fades faster than immunity from the vaccine.  I.e., antibodies from prior infections are less durable and more variable than those produced by the vaccine. Some people with prior infection may mount a vigorous antibody response, and some may not.

Conversely, in the short term, antibodies from infection reside in additional places whereas those from the vaccine are only in the bloodstream, so there is definitely merit to the value of natural immunity.  

Our very own data shows that those who were infected rarely are re-infected in the short term (less than 1%). However, we know that with time, the natural antibodies do indeed wane, leading to eventual susceptibility from reinfection.

As Dr. Roth said at the very beginning of the pandemic, the best way to deal with this insidious virus is not to get it. I cannot over-emphasize how important it is to wash your hands, avoid close talking and isolate yourself even if just slightly ill. 

For those who have not contracted CoViD, the vaccine is preferable to the infection because even a mild infection can have seriously damaging effects on your heart, kidneys, and other vital components of your body.

Most importantly, see below for just some of our Healthcare is Selfcare info. Take care of yourself!

If you need a head start please join us at our upcoming community events this Friday and Saturday when we will offer free health screenings, “Boo the Flu” vaccines, and Pfizer boosters for any who need them.

Details for those events are on our Facebook events page!

updated 1:00 p.m. September 17, 2021

We currently have 76 CoViD+ inpatients within our three hospitals, down from the high of more than 150 just a few short weeks ago. The number of patients boarding in the ER waiting for a regular hospital bed/room is also significantly lower. Things are getting slightly better, but we are not out of the woods yet.

To date, Singing River has administered more than 65,000 vaccinations and 4,103 monoclonal antibody treatments – 98.78% of those avoided hospitalization! (Please call us if you need a vaccination or if you contract CoViD – so we can schedule for these life-saving treatments as soon as possible if you qualify). We have walk-up opportunities for vaccinations at our Medical Park above the Healthplex in Pascagoula and the Singing River Foundation mobile care clinic at our Singing River Gulfport hospital campus.


I am strongly in favor of the vaccinations. Just like many other people, I too had a little hesitation at first, yet did my research and talked to the experts, and decided for myself the rewards were worth the risk. Now, many months later, the math is what we can rely on to show that not only is the vaccine safe with hardly any adverse effects, but it is also highly effective in providing countless favorable outcomes. The magnificence of math is that it has no emotion or feelings – it is pure fact.


  • Approximately 210.4 million people in the U.S. are at least partially vaccinated (76% of the adult population), and nearly 6 billion doses have been administered worldwide.
  • 42 million people have been infected with CoVid in the U.S.
  • When you combine those who were infected but are unvaccinated with those who are vaccinated, more than 76% in total have some form of immunity. 
  • More than 90% of CoViD hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated.
  • Serious adverse effects from the vaccine have occurred in less than 0.004%: relatively none. Though I am sure someone can find the lightning strike of a bad case that occurred somewhere, please note they are extremely RARE.

Never mind the science, the math is indisputable. That said, while I am in favor of CoViD vaccinations, I am concerned that a governmental mandate at this time might exacerbate the Mississippi nursing shortage and heighten the current emotional divide. Across our state, there are many healthcare job openings, and all are equally important. But, mathematically, nothing compares to the actual number of openings in Mississippi, specifically for RN’s (see our Save the Life Savers proposal to cure the Mississippi RN shortage here). 

I have personally seen the price paid by those who chose not to get vaccinated, not just the cost to themselves, but others – their families, caregivers, and community. It is huge. There are days when I want to support mandating a vaccine, no doubt about it, and will continue to punctuate the benefits of vaccination. On the other hand, I have empathy and am trying to keep focused on the comprehensive result of our health system’s long-term mission to save as many lives as possible despite the nation’s critical nursing shortage that disproportionately affects Mississippi. 

Illogical Pronouncements

Some inconsistent declarations have been made by various authorities, and perhaps not enough has been done on the education front. A few examples:

  • Masks: If you are vaccinated or have had CoViD, you have some form of immunity. Logic would imply that those with some immunity should not have to wear a mask. Unfortunately, the Delta variant contagion level has reduced the clarity on this issue. We should respect that some understandably want to err on the side of caution, and empathize that some feel the lack of clarity in the policies are a fair reason to wonder why masks are needed, if vaccines work.Interestingly, another illogical thing about mask-wearing is that the people who should wear a mask are most often the ones who wear them the least: those who are slightly ill. Yes, a few do not know they are ill, but if we all had greater self-awareness and those who were even slightly ill wore a mask (or better yet isolated), it would far and away be the most effective section of mask-wearing. Similarly illogical: the media has conditioned some folks to wear a mask even when alone outdoors at the beach, yet at the same time, Walmart is shutting down stores to deep clean due to unmasked sick people coughing all over their inventory. Ultimately, we all need to meet in the middle and be both respectful and responsible, no matter how irritated we are or where we fall in the spectrum of thoughts on the wishy-washy guidance.    
  • “Breakthrough” cases: Breakthrough cases (i.e., infection in vaccinated people) is a misnomer. Not only can a vaccinated person still get CoViD but 8.7% of them are expected to, and that has been known from the beginning. That means that 91.3% will not. That is about one out of every ten people, or if 1,000 people are exposed, then 87 should get it. If 10,000 are exposed, then 870 should get it. This is just math (what is more important is that the 8.7% who do contract CoViD despite being vaccinated, rarely get hospitalized and rarely die of CoViD.) Some vaccinated people testing positive is NO SURPRISE, and there is absolutely nothing “breakthrough” about a vaccinated person getting CoViD.
  • Boosters: The vaccines work, but now policymakers are vacillating over whether a booster may be needed, and recently announced a possible start of September 20 – before vetting the situation. This is an issue for many reasons. If the vaccines work for some time beyond six or eight months, and data suggests they do, there is no need for a media statement to authorize a booster and create a frenzy at an arbitrary mark before the medical experts have opined. Also, this was issued without considering where Moderna and J&J are in the evolution of the booster development. The panic this premature announcement caused is certain to confuse and is an example of inappropriate communication in this pandemic. Boosters are likely necessary at some point, as they are expected to diminish the transmission of the virus in vaccinated, asymptomatic carriers. But again, we should wait for the proper guidance.
  • Shot pain: The media keeps showing shots going into arms over and over. I know some of the toughest of men who are honestly terrified of a shot. Their hesitancy has nothing to do with the ingredients of the shot or the outcomes but rather fear alone of the needle itself. These constant images of needles in arms do nothing but make them lock onto other cognitive biases that help them get to “no” on the shots. I literally pinched a friend of mine, and asked him how bad it hurt – he said not bad – and I said, “well the shot hurts less than that”. He still does not believe me and thinks the shot probably feels like getting an IV when they cannot find a vein. It doesn’t!  We need to educate people the shot does not hurt!

Education and Unification 

We need to spend more time and effort educating people about the science, the math, and the logic – using the facts, and the truth. Education unifies people. 

Second Timothy 3:4 says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 

We need to refocus on sound doctrine, and not be driven to turn away from truths. On the other side, we need to remember that ears do not receive condescension well either: we must be honest with ourselves that people unsure about being vaccinated might just divide further in spite of truths with a federal governmental mandate at this time. 

Our current state of humanity, now ingrained with polarization and division instead of empathy and moderation, is driving us apart. As I have found myself repeating over and over during this pandemic: united we stand, divided we fall. We need sound doctrine, not fables. And at the same time, somehow, we need unity, not division.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
CEO Lee Bond | News this Week | September 12th, 2021

COVID-19 Hospitalization Stats as of 9/17/21

updated 12:00 p.m. September 9, 2021

The war on CoViD continues. 

Thank you to our team for being the strong warriors that you are.

Things are still tough, but slowly getting better.  

If you know anyone who needs to be tested or vaccinated, please tell them to go to our Facebook page which updates all times, or see below:

Walk-in vaccination centers & Drive-thru COVID testing sites

Question of the Week:  All about BOOSTERS

Many have inquired about receiving a booster vaccine and we are ready to help within current guidelines. Keep in mind that most fully vaccinated individuals are still well protected against all strains of the virus. At this time booster vaccines are only recommended for those with severely compromised immune systems.  

If you or a loved one fall into one of these categories below, we can set up a booster at one of our vaccine centers in coordination with your healthcare provider:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Although the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time, as soon as a recommendation is in place we will share that update and offer vaccines to all who need them through our walk-in vaccine sites. Stay tuned to our Facebook and website for the latest updates.

For more on this topic check out this clip of Clinical Pharmacist Chris Ayers:

COVID-19 Vaccines & Booster Shots | Pharmacist Chris Ayers

COVID Stats as of 9/8 – today we are down even more slightly:

COVID-19 Cases Mississippi v. Singing River

updated 12:00 p.m. August 27, 2021

Our fight continues on two fronts: battling CoViD and fighting to stop the exodus of nurses from our state. For a good review of what is happening right here at home check out this recent CNN piece: 

If you want to help, please join our “Save the Lifesavers” initiative, details here.

updated 5:00 p.m. August 24, 2021

Today’s latest stats and some common myths busted from the Mississippi State Department of Health at the bottom:

State of Mississippi COVID-19 Cases v. Jackson County Cases (7-Day Average)
Singing River Health System COVID-19 Hospitalization Stats as of August 24, 2021
Mississippi COVID-19 Hospitalizations in ICU and on Ventilators

MSDH – Addressing Common Myths:

  • COVID vaccines do not cause infertility. In fact, the COVID virus itself has been shown to be harmful to both male and female reproductive health.
  • COVID vaccines are extremely safe. COVID has killed more than 7,500 Mississippians, but there have been zero confirmed deaths from the vaccine.
  • COVID vaccines do not contain chips, metal, or cells.
  • The COVID vaccines are some of the best-studied vaccines in history and are not “experimental.” COVID vaccines are currently authorized by the FDA, and the Pfizer vaccine is now fully approved. 

updated 5:00 p.m. August 23, 2021

153 COVID+ individuals are being cared for across our 3 hospitals. Out of the 153, 42 are in ICU. The average age of people on vents is 54, 9 are under age 40, the youngest is age 23. Zero are fully vaccinated. #DoWhatItTakes #SingingRiverStrong

We need our community’s support to ensure a portion of the $1.8 Billion in Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds goes toward Mississippi’s Front Line Healthcare Workers. Please encourage our State to Save the Lifesavers by sharing this link:

updated 3:00 p.m. August 19, 2021

Our COVID-19 battle continues with a new record of 143 CoViD+ individuals hospitalized today. Our team is working tirelessly to care for all who need us, but as you have heard from all hospitals across the state, the worsening nursing shortage is making everything exponentially more difficult.

Every single staff member is critically important, but the loss of bedside nurses results in fewer open beds and reduces access to care. Right now, lucrative out-of-state contract offers for the RN designation, in particular, are at an all-time high, and not-for-profit health systems in poorer states like Mississippi do not have the cash flow nor cash reserves that other large for-profit systems in states like Texas and Florida do – we need the state to help reverse the exodus. We have proposed a plan (see link below) to do just that across Mississippi to both attract and retain our bedside caregivers:

We hope you will join us in advocating for these “Life Saving Hands” who have cared for all of us throughout this pandemic.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 11:00 a.m. August 17, 2021

We are caring for a record 138 CoViD positive inpatients across our three hospitals, 38 of which are in critical care. Our front line warriors are completely overwhelmed, yet they keep fighting. Pray for even more stamina for them.

(Click here to view the Fight for You video above.)

Why the Vaccines are Safe

Many people, including me, had many questions and concerns at first. Before I was vaccinated I talked to every board-certified physician I could and did my own research as well. It is okay to be wary, however, take some solace in these facts:

  1. The vaccine was developed fast, partly because the whole wide world worked together. But, the innumerable strong minds and companies working in harmony didn’t start from scratch – research on earlier coronaviruses has been ongoing for over twenty years. Further, many volunteers were readily available and willing to participate in the early development trials.
  2. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are safe. mRNA is a genetic material that simply tells your body how to make proteins. It does not alter your DNA in any way. Unlike other vaccines that put a weakened or inactivated germ into your body, mRNA vaccines do not. As a result, they cannot give you COVID-19 either. Our immune system recognizes the mRNA protein and begins building an immune response and making natural antibodies. Your cells actually break down the mRNA and discard it after your muscle cells react to it by building the antibodies.
  3. The MATH is even more clear than the science. Over 352 million doses have been given in the US (billions worldwide), and only 0.0004% of people receiving have had any serious reaction. Even more important is the fact that less than 1% of those who are vaccinated die even if they contract CoViD. In Mississippi, 7,761 deaths have been caused by CoViD.
  4. The government (and all of those internet “experts”) are irrelevant: listen to board-certified doctors, most of whom were first in line for a vaccine.  If your car needs maintenance, you call a mechanic. If your drain is clogged, you call a plumber. Why should health issues be any different? Please, consult a board certified physician and not the government or an internet expert.
  5. The shot doesn’t hurt. For some people, the main fear is understandably the act of getting a shot. But because the injection is in your deltoid muscle (with the smallest of needles), it would hurt more if someone pinched you.
  6. The vaccine saves lives, and not just yours. Healthcare infrastructure nationally and regionally are struggling under enormous pressure because of the number of CoViD infections. Resources are limited and healthcare heroes are beyond exhausted. Your loved ones could also benefit from you being vaccinated. Do it for them.

The virus does not care about politics, and the vaccine is our best defense against it.  We will not belittle anyone for not yet being vaccinated, and do not be embarrassed if you are worried or scared about CoViD or vaccinations. We are living in scary times, and, kindness is more important than ever. So if you disagree with getting vaccinated, please at least do it respectfully, put a little love in your heart, and don’t be hateful. Dale Carnegie once said something like, “if there is any, one secret of success, it is the ability to get the other person’s point of view as well as your own.” Few people do that, but the world would be a better place if everyone did.

If you want to be vaccinated, we have walk-up opportunities at our Healthplex Medical Park in Pascagoula and the Singing River Foundation mobile clinic at our Singing River Gulfport hospital campus.​​​

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments (e.g., Regeneron)

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments are a huge weapon we can use against CoViD-19. Today, we exceeded 2,000 doses administered at our Infusion Clinics in Pascagoula and Gulfport.  97.4% of those who have received an antibody infusion have avoided hospitalization. If you have a positive test, ask your provider to call us to get scheduled. We have volunteers working after hours through the night and on weekends to try to administer as many treatments as humanly possible.

Myth/Misnomer of the Week

“Breakthrough” cases (infection in vaccinated people) is a misnomer because the vaccine was known to not be 100% effective. Not only can vaccinated people get CoViD, but 8.7% of them are expected to, and that has been known from the beginning. That means that 91.3% will not. It’s just math. That is about one out of every ten people, or if 1,000 people are exposed, then 87 should get it. If 10,000 are exposed, then 870 should get it. Math. (And, the 8.7% who do contract CoViD despite being vaccinated rarely get hospitalized and rarely die of CoViD.)  Some vaccinated people testing positive is NO SURPRISE.  

How much can I rely on antibodies from a prior infection?

There are conflicting studies, reports, and opinions on this. A study in the UK found that people previously infected have an 83% rate of protection against reinfection, and another shows even much higher than that.  Some studies say the immunity may drop off after 6 to 8 months, and a recent Kentucky study showed that people who have had CoViD before are more than two times more likely to be reinfected.  For Singing River, only 131 or about 1% out of our 12,387 positive tests since inception reflects reinfection (however we have no way of knowing how many of those people are re-exposed, how many had tests done elsewhere, etc.). We are only aware of one of those being hospitalized with a second infection, which supports the notion that antibodies are at least somewhat effective.  Your specific level of antibody production can vary, depending on everything from exposure to viral load to genetic composition. There was also a study recently that showed patients that had CoViD and then received a single dose of vaccine had enhanced immune response. 

Here is an example of one fairly balanced article: Study Suggests Lasting Immunity After COVID-19, With a Big Boost From Vaccination | Infectious Diseases | JAMA | JAMA Network

Delta is Different

The Delta variant is more contagious because it enters host cells faster, replicates faster, and presents with larger viral loads. It has been misreported that it is 1,000 times more contagious; the “1,000 times” higher relates to the viral load (for example, the number of viral particles in a specimen of snot).  Contagion increase is better defined by the R0 (“R naught”), which is the number of people a person with CoViD is expected to infect. The original version (Alpha) had an R0 value of 2.5, meaning an infected person would infect two and a half people. The R0 value for Delta is 8. Thus, Delta is about 3 times more contagious ​than Alpha. As Dr. J Stacey Klutts stated in a recent article: “If the original COVID strains were covered in syrup, this variant is covered in ultra fast-drying Gorilla Super Glue (industrial strength).” There is still debate about whether it is deadlier, but the math indicates that with exponentially more people infected, the number of deaths would proportionally increase. Only time will tell.

Booster Shots

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters will likely be needed at some point in time. For now, the experts recommend boosters primarily for those who are immunocompromised. The Food and Drug Administration specifically cited authorization for solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise, representing about 3% of U.S. adults. More to come on this soon on our Facebook and website.

An Interesting Tidbit

Strong correlations have been made between nutrition and exercise, and immune cells and inflammation. Also, cigarettes and vaping products impair the immune system. Conclusion: there has never been a better time or reason to try to start exercising and stop smoking!

Whether you are vaccinated or not, and whether you want to be or not, please at least make an extra effort to stop the spread by doing the simplest of things that we often forget: wash your hands more often, avoid close talking, and isolate yourself if you are even just slightly ill.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 6:00 p.m. August 5, 2021

To Our Singing River Strong Team,

We reached a disturbing new peak this week of more than 115 CoVid positive individuals among our three hospitals – 38 of those in ICU beds. At this very moment, the entire state of Mississippi and neighboring states are out of ICU beds. While yesterday was better than the day before, today may bring new higher hurdles. Let’s hope we are cresting this hellacious wave.

In the last week, YOU, the Singing River Strong team have saved hundreds of lives using your skills, traditional lifesaving care, and new treatments such as the monoclonal antibody infusions. Yet a few times, the insidious demon we call CoViD was too much for any treatment that exists, as it took the lives of those less fortunate.  The world debates vaccine efficacy while we see deaths of only those not vaccinated. We have no desire to shame anyone not vaccinated – we will provide outstanding quality care to everyone regardless – it’s just a statement of statistical fact: our numbers and the rest of the world’s numbers show if you are vaccinated you will not be hospitalized or die

Our situation is indescribable, as we bear witness to both the best and worst in people. Some of us will forever have the traumatic images of human suffering burned into our minds while fighting to save lives alongside one another. Your grit and willpower are inspiring. There is absolutely no shame in struggling with what you are experiencing, so please do not hesitate for one second, if you think you might need a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to please reach out to human resources, me, or any one of our team leaders.  

It is hard, excruciating, no matter how strong of a human you are, to be excited to take your kids to school on their first day and try to take a little joy in that moment, having in the back of your mind what you dealt with the day before, and knowing you are about to get to work and possibly have to extubate a 35-year-old patient who will not make it. Reach out. We want to be here for you, that’s what family is for after all – we will make it through this together.

I stated this recently to our community partners and it is still true, feel free to share this statement with any community members you wish: Our caregivers and others across the region are putting their own families aside day after day, night after night to help others. Please give thanks to God for these tireless warriors and pray for continued Singing River Strong level stamina for our team. They are fighting harder than ever to save lives, yet are to some degree our selfish society’s forgotten soldiers. Don’t forget about them. 

It was reported by the Center for Quality and Workforce that Mississippi has 2,000 fewer nurses today than it did a year ago. We are advocating for state leaders to devote a portion of the $1,800,000,000.00 in federal funds they are set to receive to Mississippi Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, and others. Not-for-profit hospitals that treat indigent nonpaying patients do not have cash funds to afford more than just a few contract nurses. We have 6.2% contracted nurses in order to open extra beds, while some Mississippi hospitals that have 10% or more are approaching bankruptcy. As you know, that will never be an option for us. Just 25% of the 1.8 Billion the state is receiving could give every bedside caregiver $20,000 to retain them in Mississippi.

New Stats:

  • The state is basically out of ICU beds. With 0 capacity, emergency rooms throughout the state are holding ICU level patients in emergency room beds as a last resort.
  • We have 109 positive patients and almost every hospital in the state is at the same or worse level. There are not enough nurses in the world. We will do whatever it takes to continue to carry on our mission, however procedures considered elective like hip and knee replacements that require an overnight stay are being deferred under a state emergency order.
  • Younger people are contracting the virus more than ever before with the new Delta variant. Outpatient average age is now 38, and inpatient is 53. Our youngest admitted patient is 14.
  • New data shows the Ro rate for the Delta variant is 9 (Ro = how quickly the virus spreads from person to person), meaning 1 person infected with Delta will likely infect 9 others – compared to previous strains such as the Alpha which has a Ro rate around 3. Needless to say, Delta is extremely contagious.
  • The slope of the curve is steep, and could get worse before it gets better. Our old mantra: “If you love ’em don’t hug ’em” might be a good thing to follow again for a bit…
  • 3,164 new positive cases were reported in Mississippi today – the highest single-day total since 3,542 on Jan. 8.
  • Globally: 1,172,440,018 (1.2 Billion) people are fully vacinated.
  • In the United States, 165,000,000 (165 Million) people have received the vaccine and of those only 6,587 have been hospitalized (00.004%). 
  • Argue away, but those are the numbers and they along with this statement are indisputable: the vaccine will keep you ALIVE and out of the hospital. Healthcare is Selfcare.  
as of 3:00pm | August 5, 2021

One Silver Lining:

We have ramped up additional access to monoclonal antibody infusions (Regen-CoV or sotrovimab) for those struggling with mild-severe symptoms. If caught in time, this early treatment can reduce CoViD hospitalizations by 80%. Regeneron infusions are for people who recently contracted the virus (infected for less than 10 days) and have an underlying condition or situation that puts them at risk of deteriorating. We have performed 1,314 of these life-saving infusions to date. Visit one of our Singing River Medical Clinic providers or contact us if you or someone you know needs our help to see if they qualify.

 What Can the Community Do to Help? Here are 5 Things:

  1. Get vaccinated. Encourage those on the fence who can get comfortable with it to do it for others, not just for themselves. Do it so the nurse who is working seven days a week at a literal breaking point can take care of the heart attacks, accidents and strokes instead of the preventable CoViD cases. Talk to your doctor (not Facebook experts from Russia or the alleged inventor of herbal cancer remedies on an obscure self promoting YouTube network) about whether you can get more comfortable with getting the vaccine. 
  2. Do something for a nurse or other frontline healthcare worker: take their kids to school or offer to watch them so they can work an extra shift or do something for themselves to clear their heads on their day off.  Or just send them a note. And pray for them – for strength and stamina.  The job of being a hero is getting old and the best thing you can do is try harder to avoid CoViD.​​
  3. Wash your hands as if your life depends on it – because it could.
  4. Don’t talk so close to someone that if they accidentally spit it goes into your mouth. It happens a lot more than you think. Especially in your home.
  5. Be kind and moderate, not divisive. In times like these, we need to help each other out and put others first more than ever. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 12:00 p.m. July 28, 2021

A Few Current COVID-19 Stats:

  • 95% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated (99% here locally).
  • 61: current number hospitalized in our facilities; 16 in critical care in the ICU and several on ventilators.  A few weeks ago there were only 8 admitted.   
  • 49: average age of a CoViD patient today versus age 67 a year ago.
  • 15%: ICU beds open in the entire state presently, with hospitals along the coast close to zero ICU beds available. 
  • 0: per the State of MS database, there has not been a single verified death in MS caused by a CoViD vaccine; there may be one eventually been to date there are none confirmed.
  • 25x: how much more likely an unvaccinated person is to be hospitalized with CoViD than a vaccinated person.
  • 364: positive cases last week out of 2,245 tests collected; the more recent rate the last few days is 20%, or 1 out of 5 is positive.
  • 1,260: “Delta’s delta” – according to one study the viral load is much higher making it much more contagious. However, it is not “worse” than other strains but simply more contagious – a progression that is typical in the progression of a virus like this. A study shows that T-cell responses provoked by the vaccines are still very strong against known variants, including Delta B.1.617.2.

Current Regional Situation

What is more unique in this wave is the bed availability status due to pervasive nursing shortages as many choose contracted travel positions throughout the country. We would like to advocate for the state to allocate some of the $1,800,000,000.00 federal funds coming from Washington DC to be used to retain nurses in Mississippi.

Not-for-profit hospitals simply do not have funds to do this, but federal funds could be allocated to a Mississippi RN job retention program in our opinion. Many hospitals in our state and the regions below cannot afford to adequately staff the needed beds to care for the sick (both CoViD and others) due to these unprecedented labor market conditions.

How can you avoid CoViD?

As we stated a year ago: “CoViD-19’s primary pathway of transmission is through droplets of saliva from an infected person. Primary opportunities for transmission of the virus are household contacts and large indoor gatherings. In the cases we have followed, many more people became infected from household contacts, friends, and acquaintances than from the other transmission opportunities.

Besides being vaccinated, the best ways to attempt to avoid COVID19 are to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when in public or with unwashed hands, practice physical social distancing of at least six feet apart, wear a facial covering or mask, and avoid large groups and gatherings.”  Here is the link to the contact tracing study our team published last year if you would like to learn more. 

Should you get vaccinated?

Consult a physician if you have questions. Ultimately it is a personal choice. “Healthcare is Selfcare” as we have said lately – we recommend you consult your doctor for a check-up and ask them for guidance. Whether you are pro or con regarding the vaccine, one thing is clear: being vaccinated almost guarantees you will not be killed or hospitalized by CoViD.  

Think also about the unbearable and indescribable stress of managing the tremendous number of CoViD patients that nurses are other clinicians are enduring. If you are considering getting vaccinated, and your doctor agrees, then do it – DO IT FOR THEM.  

We are doubling down on our efforts to offer vaccinations to those who want them. Call us any time for an appointment we will work you in. We are also continuing to urge people to not put off other health assessments, check-ups, and screenings because your selfcare is as important now as it ever has been.

While I am an optimist, I believe that we have not quite crested the peak yet.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. July 20, 2021

There has been a tremendous amount of discussion in our severely polarized world about whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As healthcare professionals, we highly recommend it. The vaccines are safe and effective, just as the immunizations for polio, mumps, hepatitis, etc. We also respect that it is a personal choice.

While it is a personal choice, please consider this: there are not enough nurses on earth to take care of the unusually high number of sick people these days (not just with CoViD). And to be candid, the ones who are caring for all the new CoViD patients are close to reaching their wit’s end, as 99% of the folks they are caring for could have avoided being hospitalized by getting vaccinated.

Hospitals in our state and across the region cannot open the number of beds needed to care for the sick in their waiting rooms because there are simply not enough nurses in existence to staff them. Today, somewhere near you, an ER nurse is dealing with the unbearable stress of waiting on an ICU bed to open up for her patient. Today another nurse will see more than sickness: he will see death, pain, suffering, and regret. They both deserve to see less of this and wonder why we are not working harder to vaccinate more people to stop us all from getting sick in the first place. If you are considering getting vaccinated, do it now, do it for them.

A few stats:​

  • 99% of hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated people. Yes, vaccinated people can still become ill with the virus but it is extremely rare.
  • An unvaccinated person is 25 times more likely to be hospitalized with CoViD than a vaccinated person.
  • ICUs are filling with younger patients, in their 30s and 40s, including some with no underlying health problems. 
  • As I write this, there are only 119 ICU beds available in the entire state, with hospitals along the coast close to zero ICU beds available. That is preposterous. 
  • Right now in our hospitals, we have 32 hospitalized individuals dealing with this insidious virus that makes it so difficult to just breathe; quadruple the number we were caring for two weeks ago.​

​The stress this is causing on clinical teams is precisely indescribable. If you have been on the fence about getting vaccinated, please think of those who have given so much to this country for the last year and a half; be selfless and keep in mind “a life lived for others is worth living.”


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

Learn more at

updated 11:00 a.m. June 14, 2021

As we shift into a new era and get back into the swing of things, our focus is on paving the way to high-quality care in our mission: to improve health and save lives. Here are three key things I would like to share with you that will help us all move forward in making the coast a healthier place to live and work. 


Screenings are the absolute most proactive way to improve and protect your health, it is extremely critical to make time for selfcare by scheduling regular check-ups to ensure you continue in this world with the quality of life you have today. Addressing health issues before they arise or reach the point of no return – meaning treatment options are limited – is crucial.  One of the biggest lessons learned this past year was that people with certain health conditions fare worse than others. Coming out of the pandemic, screenings can help offset the effects of delayed care over the past twelve months. Check out the attached list of suggested screenings you may qualify for, don’t skip a beat – get them now!  


During the pandemic, while Dr. Ijlal Babar and the Pulmonary/Critical Care team were caring for the sickest patients in our hospitals and clinics, they were also training to bring two of the most advanced lung treatments and technology to the coast.         

The Monarch Robotic-Assisted Bronchoscopy – Early Lung Cancer Detection

The Zephyr Valve –  a new procedure to help those suffering from severe emphysema and COPD breathe easier. 

Our cancer care team has been hard at work to expand its services as well, welcoming four new highly skilled oncologists to the coast who will assist in caring for patients at all three of our Cancer Centers, including the new location opening at Singing River Gulfport this fall. In the next few weeks, Radiation Oncologist Dr. Brad Greenfield will begin implementing a new tool to help protect patient’s healthy organs and minimize side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer

Check out the SpaceOAR Hydrogel for Prostate Cancer Radiation Treatments. 

Interventional Radiology is the minimally invasive, image-guided treatment of medical conditions through breakthrough techniques that once required open surgery to improve a person’s quality of life. Interventional Radiologists Dr. Marshall Walker and Dr. Patrick Patten offer some of the most advanced procedures such as WaveLinQ for those with Chronic Kidney Disease. 

The 4-1-1

Every Wednesday at 5:30 pm, we have been airing a little segment on Facebook called “Singing River 411” to showcase one of our unique service lines and the talent behind them. Click here to view a recent episode featuring a few legends of our award-winning cardiac care team!

updated 11:00 a.m. April 14, 2021

The FDA, CDC, Mississippi State Department of Health, and Singing River Health System have all recommended hitting the pause button in administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 people out of 6.8 Million recipients reported what may be a rare reaction to the vaccine. 

In total, when including Pfizer and Moderna, 121 Million vaccines have been administered – this possible reaction is not present with Pfizer or Moderna, which use different technology. While the chances of a blood clot may be 1 in One Million with the J&J vaccine, the odds of contracting and dying from CoViD are exponentially higher: 1,702 in One Million.  

If you have these symptoms within three weeks after receiving a J&J vaccine, please contact us. Potential signs of a blood clot include:

  • Severe Headaches
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Shortness of Breath  

From a clinical perspective – here is the latest interview with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Randy Roth, regarding vaccine safety. 

Those with scheduled appointments for J&J vaccinations at our Singing River Medical Clinics or upcoming events will be able to receive one of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in its place to prevent any delay in getting vaccinated. 

Our pharmacy team is continuously monitoring federal guidance and we are ready to answer questions and help guide anyone who needs a vaccine. We offer the Pfizer or Moderna at our Singing River Medical Clinics in both Jackson and Harrison Counties, just call the location nearest you and they will set you up. More details are on our website and our Facebook page where we will post the latest updates.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 11:00 a.m. March 11, 2021

One year ago this coming Saturday, we admitted our first CoViD-19 patient and began to feel the gravity and magnitude of the battle we would wage over the next 12 months. During several of those months, we cared for more than 90 individuals at a time across our three hospitals. But now, for the first time since I can remember, we have fewer than 20 CoViD-19 inpatients. The most incredible part of it is that not a single one is on a ventilator.  

Despite the challenges we faced, we also had some great victories. Our deep strategic partnership with Ochsner continues to evolve in positive ways, and our efforts together at Singing River Gulfport are yielding results.  Even with COVID in the rearview – we still have a lot of work to do in adjusting to the “new normal,” but as always, we will triumph by staying focused on our mission.

I will repeat what I have said before: We have seen a lot over the past 12 months. Nurses, doctors, clinicians, and all support services holding everyone and everything together as the world was falling apart, giving hope when there was none. We saw heroes and hotlines, our Core Values shine, and the Holy Spirit with us everywhere. We worked hard and it paid off in terms of lives saved. I am proud to be a small part of this great United States of America where ingenuity developed rapid testing capabilities, medications like Bamlanivimab to fight this insidious virus, and ultimately vaccines to stop it.  

Speaking of vaccines, our team has efficiently vaccinated more than 26,000 individuals and was first to receive and administer the new single-dose J&J vaccine this week. If you or anyone you know is wishing to be vaccinated please email me or call our vaccine hotline at 228-809-5555 and follow our Facebook page for the latest updates on shipments and eligibility. We encourage everyone to #DoWhatItTakes to vaccinate so we can defeat this virus once and for all.  

Click here for a tribute to our fearless warriors at Singing River, it may give you a glimpse of “What My Eyes Have Seen.”Sincere thanks,

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. February 26, 2021

The outlook in our fight against COVID-19 is greatly improving! It is no secret the pandemic has taken its toll. Even though we are not out of the woods yet, things are certainly looking up.

Just over two weeks ago we were exasperated caring for almost 100 COVID patients across our 3 hospitals every day. Today, new cases are down more than 70%, and at the moment we are caring for 21 positive inpatients (with ZERO on a ventilator today for the first time since I can literally remember!!!). These are the lowest numbers we have seen in at least six months.  

We can attribute the decrease in numbers to a combination of factors, including seasonality and moving beyond the infliction of the virus caused by in-home year-end holiday gatherings. We also must give credit to the new tools in our arsenal, such as Bamlanivimab, which helps keep high-risk individuals who test positive from being hospitalized, and the small allocation of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines we have been fortunate to receive and administer to those most vulnerable in our community.

To date, Singing River has given 17,849 vaccinations and still has another scheduled 3,686, for a total of 21,535. At 94%+ effectiveness, the vaccine truly is a game-changer. The logistical challenges of providing the vaccines are monumental, but our team has risen to the occasion – reflecting our core value of serving with heart and soul.

Despite recent successes, a media narrative that America is mishandling the pandemic is always ongoing. As you can see in the graph below, yes America has the highest number of cases and we mourn every life lost to this insidious virus, now more than 2.5 million worldwide. There are however better explanations than that the United States is simply “the worst.”

There is a direct correlation between the fact that America has the highest relative economic productivity (with clear metrics like Gross Domestic Product) in the world and the incidence of cases.  We also test exponentially more than other countries. We have more cases than others because higher developed countries, like America, have more mobility thus increasing the capacity of the virus to proliferate easier. And we have higher incidence of non-compliance with guidelines here due to the individual freedoms we enjoy through our governance structure, as compared to other countries. 

So yes we have the most cases – but the United States is the most productive country in the world as measured by GDP. There is a distinct mathematical correlation between productivity and increased COVID numbers. Additionally, the United States identifies more cases due to its robust testing capabilities. For these reasons, it should come as no surprise that America’s reported COVID numbers are the highest.

No country is perfect, and we have all had opportunities to handle things better. While focusing on the negative may make for tantalizing headlines, the truth is that America reports more COVID cases in part because we are such an active, productive country and in part because we excel at testing, among other reasons. Let’s not let the negatives overcome us, because united we stand, divided we fall. 

Stay Singing River Strong,

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. February 4, 2021

New hope for an eventual state of normalcy is beginning to emerge, with reduced daily inpatient and outpatient positive cases. While we would love more supply of vaccinations, we are thankful for every dose we have received and been able to administer, particularly the first rounds we gave to those with serious life-threatening medical conditions. 

There are 380,000 people in our service area: 45% with qualified comorbidities (Chronic Kidney Disease, Heart Failure, COPD, Diabetes, Cancer, Immunocompromised, Obesity, etc.) and 15% over 65 (some with comorbidities, some without). Therefore with more than 180,000 eligible in our immediate area, the mathematical challenge of serving everyone without the supply from the Federal Government to do so is frustrating. Nationally, only 1.5% of the population has been fully vaccinated.  

As of today, thanks to hearts of service from our Singing River Strong team and great logistics planning, we have rapidly and effectively administered or scheduled our allotted 15,700 doses. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for future posts if we get more. While we hope to soon offer a vaccine to anyone who desires one, for now, we must all stay the course, focusing on vaccinating those who could most likely end up hospitalized or worse. We do not want to see stories like several we have seen out of California where selfish people have jumped in front of the most vulnerable.

Some positive news related to treatments: we have seen tremendous success with our Bamlanivimab and Regeneron Outpatient Infusion Treatments for CoViD positive individuals who have come to us in the early stages of contracting the virus. We believe these treatments are helping push hospitalization and death rates lower. 

I am excited about the Super Bowl this year (admit I am rooting for Mahomes, Hill, and the Chiefs). However, we are certain some folks will transmit CoViD to a loved one or friend during gatherings for this event, so we recommend using extreme caution – particularly at home during Super Bowl parties. It is a certainty that some will not heed this advice and end up accidentally infecting a vulnerable relative or friend, so please be smart and do not share serving areas. Especially, do not put your mouth in the dip like George Costanza does here.

Understandably there are new questions every day around the virus, vaccine availability, and treatment, so we will keep sharing the latest updates on our website at and our Facebook page. We just posted a great interview with our Lead Clinical Pharmacist that you can see here and are happy to answer your questions or help guide you to testing, treatment, or vaccine options as you need. Please continue to “Do What It Takes” to stop the spread of the virus in our community while we work tirelessly to run it out of town – Better Days are coming! 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer, Singing River Health System

updated 3:00 p.m. January 26, 2021

Singing River Health System received a small shipment of 200 COVID-19 vaccines from the state today. We are thankful for every single dose and are committed to administering them quickly and efficiently, as we demonstrated with the first round of 8,325 doses we have given thus far. However, this small amount is not enough to open up our scheduling hotline. Instead, medical staff will use our electronic medical records system to identify the most vulnerable, high-risk individuals in our community.

For now, the only option to schedule a vaccine is online through the Mississippi State Health Department at or by calling 877-978-6453 if eligible. Please stay tuned for more updates on or by following our Facebook page

updated 6:00 p.m. January 6, 2021

We were excited to learn yesterday evening that the Mississippi State Department of Health is authorizing Singing River to vaccinate people 75 and older for COVID-19! We are starting this tomorrow (Thursday – by appointment only) at 8 am. As we all know, many people over the age of 75 are the most vulnerable population. Please, if you know someone 75 or older, ask them to call 228-809-5555 for an appointment. Due to the limited number of available vaccines, patients must schedule an appointment.

We hope to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to other community groups as soon as we receive more and are authorized to do so by the MSDH. The best place to keep up with the latest is on our site: and our Singing River Facebook page. Please stay in-tune with both for additional details on scheduling and to learn more about the vaccine.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. December 31, 2020

2020 – What a year it has been. The best of times, the worst of times.  

In the “best” column, we formed a strong partnership with a great sister system: Ochsner – one of the nation’s leading health care organizations.  This partnership will help us endure long into the future with technology, added clinical expertise, and access to a higher level of specialized services.  As if that were not monumental enough, we invested in not only a facility in Gulfport, but in the people of Singing River Gulfport – to continue our Mission coast wide.

On the other side of the equation, we endured a hurricane…at the end of a record storm season where there were no names left to give. And oh yes, there was that pandemic. 

We saw a lot this year. Nurses, doctors, and clinicians held things together when the world was falling apart, and gave hope when there was none. We saw heroes and hotlines, our Core Values shine, and the Holy Spirit with us everywhere. We worked hard, and it paid off. I am proud to be a small part of this great United States of America where ingenuity developed rapid testing capabilities, medications to fight this insidious virus, and ultimately a vaccine to stop it. We lost some battles, but the war is being won. Our community remains Singing River Strong. 

In tribute to all who have served, we put together a digital yearbook (click here) to commemorate this unprecedented year. I hope you enjoy it.

Happy New Year!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. December 23, 2020

As we enter into the holiday season, we are so thankful for each of you and your incredible support for our team of fearless warriors, who are fighting on your behalf every day. It has been a tough year for sure, but there have been blessings and silver linings in the midst of turmoil and we will emerge stronger and better than ever before. 

The latest case numbers and statistics, vaccine rollout info, and how you can “do what it takes” to not give CoViD for Christmas are all on our latest Facebook post, check it out here.  As always, we are here to help, so please reach out if we can assist you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. December 11, 2020

Two milestones have been reached this week.  We talked about them on Facebook live yesterday (click here to view).

First, we have performed over 50,000 tests as of this week. Accurate testing capability helps isolate people faster when they are positive and identify courses of treatment earlier, so we are very proud of the hard work by our team to make that happen.

Secondly, a milestone has been reached in our fight against COVID-19 with respect to the vaccines. A safe, effective vaccine will soon be accessible (starting with front line clinical providers) to help us defeat the virus and get back to the people and places we love. Singing River fully supports and highly encourages widespread COVID vaccination for our employees, patients, and the community. We have already established the necessary channels to receive the vaccines and administration documentation, and our providers and staff are on standby with the skills and experience to execute its delivery. 

Since we are a Governmental-designated 1-A Facility, we expect to receive our first allocation/phase of the COVID-19 vaccines in the middle of next week.  Consistent with CDC and state guidelines for distribution, the first shipments of vaccines are designated by the federal government for front line hero health care workers who are risking their own health every day to serve us all. 

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, the next phase will be allocated to people who play a key role in keeping essential functions of society running and cannot socially distance themselves in the workplace and people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness – nursing home and assisted living residents, people with underlying medical conditions that are risk factors, and people age 65 years or older.

Most likely and hopefully by March, once enough vaccines are produced to be available for the public, Singing River will offer COVID-19 vaccines at no cost in our medical clinics and will be able to hold Vaccine Events as we did for COVID tests and flu shots for anyone who wants one. Until then, we ask you again to please do what it takes to stop the spread of the virus to keep our loved ones safe and our health care heroes strong.

For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccine or if you have any concerns please visit our Vaccine FAQ page.

As always, we are here for you, and please reach out to us for anything you may need. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. December 02, 2020

Our community’s fight against COVID-19 made national news during a CNBC interview I had the privilege to be a part of last week (click here for link) to give insight on how the pandemic is affecting our area and how we are responding. The things I shared with them are not new – but worth repeating as we continue to preach common-sense measures each of us can take to help slow the spread:

  1. Immediately isolate if ill (at the first sign of the most minor of symptoms; this actually would help even more than wearing a mask)
  2. Don’t be a close talker (contact tracing shows close-quarter conversations are the leading cause of covid transmissions)
  3. Have hand awareness (wash your hands, don’t touch your face – go wash your hands right now – especially if you have been within six feet of another human in the last hour)                          

The holiday season is the time to be thankful for our blessings despite what we are enduring. For the sake of the healthcare warriors on the front line, we beg you to please work a little harder to follow those guidelines and also get a flu shot to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations at a time when every hospital bed is invaluable. 

We have 32 inpatients at the moment but the outpatient testing rate continues to rise, signaling the possibility of an inpatient rise is possible. 

While the opportunity for a vaccine is exciting – it is not here yet. We believe the world’s exuberance is overplayed and premature as the vaccines will not be widely available until spring. You can check our website or Facebook page for the latest updates on the vaccine, new treatments like Bamlanivimab, and other critical health care information. 

We remain Singing River Strong. In spite of what this insidious enemy has done to us, now is not the time to be fatigued but rather the time to rise up, focus, and fight harder. I hope we can count on you to do your part.

Sincere thanks,

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. November 23, 2020

This year, we are asking everyone to “Give THANKS, not COVID!” for Thanksgiving. Our rolling average inpatient hospitalized number of COVID-19 patients dipped below 40 inpatients again for the first time in a long while. With a firm belief that while battles will be lost we will ultimately win the war against this virus, we would like to offer some perspective on the many things we are thankful for in what has been a most challenging year:

  • We are thankful for nurses and other clinicians: people who genuinely care about others. Thank God for them. You really have to be a caring person in order to put others ahead of yourself to the extent they do. Most of the world does not do that. It’s rare. Clinicians that serve on the front lines are noble and there is no limit to how thankful we should be for them.
  • We are thankful for Dexamethasone, Remdesivir, prone positioning, and other treatments and techniques that together reduce the odds of dying from COVID.
  • We are thankful that as the graph at the very bottom shows, we are doing better than the rest of the state.
  • We are thankful that testing is easier to get now, thus identifying it earlier, allowing us to treat it earlier.
  • We are thankful that colds and the flu will not be as prevalent this year due to increased vigilance and vaccinations.
  • We are thankful that acuity, while still serious overall, is lower than in the initial waves.
  • We are thankful for little breakthroughs like bamlanivimab antibody therapies that can help some people recover.
  • We are thankful that a possible vaccine is on the horizon.

As Dr. Roth says, the best way to deal with COVID-19 is “not to get it” – period. Here is a link to our Thanksgiving message on our website which includes some helpful information on how to navigate the holidays from us and our partners at Ochsner: Click Here!

I thank you in advance for trying harder to do these four things:

  1. Isolate if “slightly ill” – stay home if you have even the slightest symptom.
  2. Avoid “close talking” and stay six feet away from another person’s face so they don’t get their spit particles on yours – wear a mask if this cannot be achieved, as it can reduce the amount of virus particles spread from a positive shedder.  
  3. Have “hand awareness” – wash your hands hourly or after touching anything another person has recently touched.
  4. Get a flu shot to help keep you and your loved ones from needing to be hospitalized.

Please, for the sake of clinical care providers who have been battling the pandemic’s front lines for so long now, do these things. And if not for them, do it for yourself, to minimize the chances of your loved ones having to be diverted for emergency health care, please do these things.  If you care about humanity and your fellow man one bit, please tighten up and do your part.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 10:00 a.m. November 20, 2020

We hit a new high of 52 COVID-19 inpatients one day earlier this week. Outpatient positive tests are up slightly as well. As you have seen on national news, more people than ever are hospitalized with COVID, and it is creating unprecedented stress on our entire healthcare system with the worst perhaps yet to come if things do not change.

Twice in the last week hospitals across the coast from New Orleans to Mobile were largely on “diversion”, implying they were saturated to the point where they could not take any more patients. We went on diversion a few times ourselves, and that day could come soon again. Singing River has resisted what many hospitals are doing: wholesale scheduling of higher ratios (more patients per nurse) in our medical surgical nursing.  We will continue to work hard to avoid that decision.

There is no way to adequately thank all of our caregivers who are stepping up to work more hours to help out their fellow family of coworkers.  It is both gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring to see how they step up to help each other care for every patient time after time, with no break in the battle, in this wartime situation.

My message today is this: We need the world to see that most hospitals are on diversion.  If the trend does not change, soon there may be nowhere to divert people who are critically ill

If we have a bad flu season, the city of Jackson will not be the only place in Mississippi out of ICU beds, and Texas will not be the only state turning to FEMA for help. It could easily get worse. While I am optimistic, I also realize and recognize the hurdles are getting higher. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Those who still think COVID is not going to impact them may not fully recognize:

  • People who require hospitalization require a longer than normal stay.  Some people have minor symptoms, but some suffer mightily and for a long time. ICU stays are longer and more complicated than ever before, creating an increased demand for ICU beds for all types of patients.
  • The lockdown and stoppage of surgical procedures, reduction of outpatient clinic maintenance visits in the summer, and the mental stress caused to some by the pandemic have adversely affected many people. Another lockdown will absolutely make things worse. 
  • Partly because of the above, wait times in the ER have increased in nearly every single ER in the region. 

Accordingly, this Thanksgiving, we are asking people to “Give THANKS, not COVID”.

If we do not change something and stay on the current path, access to care everywhere is going to be more challenging than ever.

Please wash your hands more (have hand awareness), avoid close-talking, isolate if slightly ill, and for God’s sake get your flu shot. Again, please do your part to stop the spread and recognize that a few sacrifices now can make a huge difference in overcoming this virus. 

updated 6:00 p.m. November 11, 2020

We Sing Praises to all of the awesome Veterans who sacrificed and overcame obstacles to ensure the citizens of our great country live free.

Today, I was able to spend time at all three hospitals, and at each location, we saw one or more Veterans who now serve us and our community differently through medical and support services. We are very fortunate to have so many working among us, and we thank them for their service tremendously.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Given the situation we face with COVID-19, it seems natural and fitting that the type of people who are selfless in one segment of their life remain so in this new segment, converting from the risks and sacrifices of military service to the risks and sacrifices now being made in this medical world.

We continue to fight a different type of war today with COVID-19, with the seven average positive outpatient tests sadly creeping up again to more than 50 per day, and many more hospitalizations with a new unfortunate peak record of 51 inpatients on Tuesday.

As you all know, and please spread this word like a virus: our friends and families in the community can make the jobs of healthcare workers safer and work harder to stop the spread by:

  1. Trying harder to avoid face to face close contact
  2. Isolating (staying home) when experiencing the slightest symptom
  3. Getting their flu shot to keep the ER and hospitalizations more manageable

Do it for the Veterans!

See the Facebook Live and Singing River Veteran’s Day Tribute featuring a few of them.

updated 5:00 p.m. November 05, 2020

Singing River Strong Team, both the average number of inpatients at just below 40 and the seven day rolling average of daily positive outpatients tests at 44 remain static. The level of service you have provided to your community through all of the office and inpatients visits, performing 41,989 tests with 4,682 positives is amazing….

Please remind the community the best thing they can do for us right now beyond isolating when minor symptoms appear, not close-talking with friends and family, not touching their faces, and washing their hands is GET THEIR FLU SHOT.  The fewer people coming in with the largely avoidable flu, the better we can handle everything else.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Watch CEO and Team Boo the Flu!

Seven Day rolling average of Positive Cases (Jackson County vs all MS):

updated 9:00 p.m. October 20, 2020

We have performed 37,563 COVID-19 tests, with 4,028 positive results to date. Our seven-day rolling average of positive outpatient tests is 38 per day.  We are experiencing the national rise with inpatient admissions up considerably: we reached an all-time high of 50 COVID-19 positive individuals in our care across the three hospitals. 39 are in regular medical surgical negative pressure rooms, while 11 are in the Intensive Care Units. Thankfully, the addition of Singing River Gulfport has increased our capacity to care for those who need to be hospitalized while fighting this insidious virus. 

This pandemic is as tough on health care workers as it has ever been. We are proud of our fearless warriors who have not backed down and continued every day, every hour, every minute, and every second to tirelessly put others ahead of themselves in caring for our community.

Our team remains Singing River Strong as we continue to fight through it and be diligent in our efforts to Improve Health and Save Lives.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

A New York Times article recently published the graphs below and while they usually slant their opinion, we thought these three were factual and useful.

The first one punctuates that our community is not immune from the national increase in COVID-19 cases at this time; one silver lining is that this national data shows the number of daily hospitalizations is still below the number of new daily diagnosed cases, implying the severity per capita has lessened some.

The second one shows that the death rate per day has not gone up. This indicates some portion of older people are avoiding infections, and more younger people are being exposed. It further implies that the treatments (earlier intervention with Remdesivir, Dexamethasone, etc) have improved significantly since the beginning, which is also helping keep the death rate lower.

The third one depicts the robust increase in testing.  We believe the virus is possibly surging due to a combination of social activity and cooler weather, but we must note that it is also identified more than it was in the past due to the testing capabilities now available to the public across the country.

Either way, this surge emphasizes that everyone must work on their behavior, including and especially the fundamental actions we have been repeating:

–        DO NOT touch your face

–        AVOID “close-talkers” i.e., stay out of other people’s faces  

–        WASH YOUR HANDS at least once an hour

–        If you feel sick, STAY AWAY from others and don’t infect them (yes wearing a mask helps, but not as much as staying away from others when you feel bad!)


updated 6:00 p.m. October 16, 2020

The Emergency Nurses Association’s theme for 2020 is “Heart of Gold” which signifies the incredible HEART that every Emergency Nurse has. I want to share a statement from Singing River Emergency Leader, Kim Henderson, RN: 

During an extraordinarily challenging time, Emergency Nurses around the world – and especially in our facilities – have stepped up in the face of adversity, risen to the challenges, and shown their heart of gold to the public amid a global pandemic and a year when social justice issues and natural disasters have added more complexity to their work. This week we salute them for being heroes on the front line leading our CoViD fight.

Kim Henderson, RN, Director of Emergency Services

Many have described a sense of “COVID-Fatigue” lately which is understandable, but for the sake of those most vulnerable and to support our healthcare team, we must stay vigilant.  If you need answers, support, or testing resources – we are here for you.  Thankfully our testing capacity, technology, and processing speed get better and better, and we can now offer highly accurate same-day rapid (NAA) molecular testing along with traditional (PCR) molecular testing.  Not all tests or test providers are equal, so be wary of the testing operations that promise quick results but may not be backed by an accredited lab like ours at Singing River Health System.  To learn more about the most accurate testing and our latest capabilities see the graphic below and check out our Facebook Live episode here.

updated 6:00 p.m. October 09, 2020

As of today, Singing River has performed an astounding 35,549 tests, with 3,810 positive results. The rolling seven-day average of positive results is up considerably from the last report, at 38 per day. We remain static in our inpatient admissions with 13 patients on the COVID-19 Med-Surg units and 8 in the ICUs.

We are slightly concerned that the heightened contact by some who are “close congregating” during Cruisin’ the Coast, while an absolutely outstanding event, is going to sustain the current uptick. If you happen to go to an event, try to “stay out of their grille” (don’t get up in people’s faces) as they say from the auto world. Enjoy the scenery but:

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
  1. Stay a few feet away from other people (avoid “close talkers” and loud talkers and especially coughers – stay out of their grille!)
  2. Do not hug people or shake hands or touch them
  3. Do not share drinks or food plates  
  4. Wash your hands religiously every hour or less
  5. Do not touch your face
  6. If you have symptoms stay home alone
  7. Encourage others to do the same. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Seven Day rolling average of Positive Cases (Jackson County vs all MS):

Latest Jackson County stats from MS Department of Health

Singing River Health System Records by Municipality (only our testing sites):

New MSDH Aggregate School COVID-19 Report by School

More statistics from Mississippi State Department of Health

updated 8:00 p.m. October 04, 2020

The Singing River Team is finishing the week on a “high note” today, having officially added the A-rated Garden Park Team to our growing family.  We are thrilled to welcome the outstanding doctors, nurses, and support staff in Gulfport to our team of caregivers, and together we will extend our Mission to Improve Health and Save Lives across the coast. The Gulfport facility will now be known as “Singing River Gulfport” in partnership with Ochsner Health, where you can expect the same “A” rated quality care our community expects from us from expanded services.  

We had an outstanding day welcoming our new team members and celebrating the historic occasion. An official ribbon-cutting invite will be coming your way but for now, you can learn more about our new hospital on the Facebook Live episode we recorded on-site Thursday.

We are of course continuing to manage COVID-19 cases, which thankfully are steadily trending slowly downward, and as long as we stay vigilant we hope to keep these numbers as low as possible going into FLU season. If you have not done so already, NOW IS THE TIME to get your FLU shot. If you or your organization would like help setting up vaccines please reach out and we will be happy to help provide this critically important protection.

As we move into the Fall Festival season, please enjoy safely and remember to Be Smart, Stay Apart, and #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 10:00 a.m. September 30, 2020

Singing River has tested more than 33,000 individuals for COVID-19, with 3,508 positives to date. The seven-day average of outpatient positive test results is down to 17 per day. Our positive inpatient census is remaining around 19, with 11 in the ICU (6 in Pascagoula, 5 in Ocean Springs).

updated 10:00 a.m. September 24, 2020

We look forward to the day when we have such an immaterial level of COVID-19 that there is absolutely nothing to update. Not quite there yet, but inching closer toward that place. 

The 7-day rolling average is up a tiny bit due to a small but very predictable spike earlier last week, as expected from Labor Day. As of today, we have tested more than 32,094 individuals with 3,385 (or 10.5%) of those being positive. Nineteen (19) people remain hospitalized, One (1) below the average of 20, which we have not fallen below much in the last few weeks.

Thank you for remaining so strong during this tiring era. Below are some updated graphs for your review. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Latest Jackson County stats from MSDH website at

updated 05:00 p.m. September 21, 2020
September COVID-19 update with Singing River Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Randy Roth

Singing River Health System currently has twenty-two (22) hospitalized COVID-19 patients between Pascagoula and Ocean Springs locations (13 of whom are in our ICUs). Our seven-day rolling average of positive tests resulting in our lab is 30 per day.

Total COVID-19 tests performed to date: 31,530

Positives resulted: 3,351

As schools, businesses, and public events continue to resume please remember to stay vigilant on how we know to stay safe and stop the spread.

Here is Singing River Medical Clinic Physician, Dr. Teresa Williamson’s latest update in our battle warning not to let our guards down as the virus is still alive and well. #StayCalm #StayInformed #StayApart #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Singing River Medical Clinic’s Dr. Teresa Williamson COVID-19 update from the front lines
Singing River Boo the Flu and COVID-19 too drive-thru events on September 26th!

updated 02:00 p.m. September 18, 2020

We went over 30,000 CoViD tests this week, at 30,937 as of yesterday, with 3,276 positives to date. The seven-day average is down to 28. Our inpatient census is up from the 20 per day average positive inpatients to 26 today. 13 are in the ICU (8 in Pascagoula, 5 in Ocean Springs).

We would like to share a message our Chief Executive Officer, Lee Bond, sent to our entire team thanking them for their incredible ability to remain SINGING RIVER STRONG with both a pandemic and a hurricane bearing down upon them last week.

To Our Singing River Strong Team:

Thank you to all who came in for storm prep, we are fortunate to have dodged a bullet in many respects, but we were well-prepared if it had hit us, thanks to you.  

Many have said it was almost actually a silver lining in one respect, to get our minds off of CoViD…I sent this video of a few of you doing Pit Bull’s version of “I Believe” last week and when I heard the song on the radio this morning I could not help but think of how fitting some of the lyrics really are of our fight: I believe that we will win, because of this team.

And let me tell you what I believe
I believe we gonna face everything and rise
I believe that we will win
It’s not how you fall
It’s how you get back up

And what don’t kill us make us stronger
It’s time to knuckle up
And fight hard
Now let’s all buckle up
And fight hard

Que Dios bendiga a toda tu famila mi amigo
De parte Armandito vamos a darle duro a este virus

We could lose the battle
But we gon’ win the war
I’m from the bottom, I’m that uncut real raw
When things get tough
That’s when we show up

Bottom line
No matter what
Face everything and rise

Keep Fighting – I believe we will win.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 08:00 p.m. September 8, 2020

The 7-day rolling average of positive tests is down to 30. We have 18 patients hospitalized presently, 8 of whom are in the ICU.

It is still a tough fight. Even though the numbers have gone down, it is still challenging to stay positive every day given the fact that this virus has not left us, and knowing that we might have a wave in a few weeks.  

As I have said before, we will lose some battles, but we will win the war. The artist Pitbull said the same thing in his recent anthem I Believe That We Will Win.

Here is our Singing River version:

All proceeds of this empowerment anthem by Pitbull will go towards multiple charities. One of his music promoters said, “It was clear that this wasn’t being released as a commercial money-making song, for anyone, neither for Pit or us. It’s a passion project, and it’s also a much-needed song. His music has been all about energy, and we need that more than ever now, that positive energy and motivation.” 

The ever-optimistic, multi-faceted artist himself said, “We’re going to get through this, we’ll fight through this.” 

On Tuesday’s episode of Facebook Live, we discussed current stats, upcoming events, positivity, and the continued need for community support to win the war.

Please continue to invite your friends to like our Facebook Page for the most up to date and most accurate information. As I type this, literally, “Don’t Stop Believin” is playing overhead. Thankful that the number above just went down to 17.

Keep believin’ and #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 03:00 p.m. September 2, 2020

Labor Day is intended to tribute the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our great country.

As Labor Day celebrates the act of ‘working,’ we are especially appreciative of the many who will be literally working with us on that day, especially our fearless warriors who are still dealing with the challenges of COVID-19.  

Having always been in a business that works most holidays, I am not usually one to be excited about holidays, and my philosophy is “every day you are alive is a holiday.”  But this year, on the other end of the spectrum, I actually have some unease about a holiday like Labor Day. That is because the analytical side of me knows the most likely scenario is that people will get together more than usual and hug friends and relatives on Labor Day just like what happened on Memorial Day and July 4th, possibly leading to a spike in inpatient COVID-19 cases.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

While presently we are finally seeing some progress on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we stand to lose it all if people let their guard down over the Labor Day Holiday. 

This data tells the story – note the spike (red) in both cases and deaths across our state after both Memorial Day and the 4th of July:

Based on these numbers a spike is almost guaranteed if we act as we did over the last two holiday weekends.  If the trend continues we could see as many as 300 additional incremental infections and six to twelve unnecessary imminent deaths right here in our community after Labor Day. 

Whatever your plans are for the holiday, please consider how you can help reverse this trend by limiting gatherings. Do not hug the ones you love over this coming weekend. Save the hugs up for later! 

To punctuate the good news, we are indeed continuing to see an overall decline in our 7-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases:

Our incredible team of caregivers has given their all in this fight but they need your help – the best way to honor them is to make your Labor Day a quiet one: BE SMART, STAY APART! Learn more about how to have a safe holiday weekend on our website

updated 07:00 p.m. August 31, 2020

Thankfully the rolling seven-day average of positive COVID-19 outpatient tests continues to slightly decline. 

More importantly, we want to share with you today a few amazing comments Guest Relations Manager, Rachel Mills, received about our awesome ER team recently that are representative of what happens throughout our health care system every single day. 

A patient (or as we call her, our guest) who we will call “Mrs. J,” called to tell us about her Emergency Department visit to our Pascagoula Hospital.  She stated from the moment she got there until she was discharged everyone in the ED made her feel that “she was going to be okay.” She complimented Patient Registration and the triage team on how astute they were in identifying her distress, and immediately bringing her to the back. Secondly, she stated, that once in the triage room the nurses immediately noticed her difficulty breathing and rushed her to the trauma room. Mrs. J stated once she came into our Trauma room, she didn’t become scared, but rather became comforted because all of the staff kept telling her, “You are going to be ok! We got you!” She stated that the simple act of hearing medical professionals tell her that they are going to take care of her helped, tremendously, in keeping her calm. Mrs. J then said, while she knows it is important to get good treatment, it is even more important when the ED treats the psychological aspect of the person as well. Because the staff was so intimately involved with her care, showing that they cared so much, reassuring her that she was going to be fine, and having an admirable amount of patience with her, said she knew she was in great hands!  She went on and on about Dr. Black and said he was just “amazing” in his care and treatment of her situation. She concluded by stating that she truly feels that the service she received in the Emergency Department at Singing River Hospital played a major part in how quickly she recovered.  She wanted Antoine to be sure to spread the word of thanks to Allie M., Beth G., Patricia K., Teresa P., Terri S., and Dr. Black for their direct contact with her and for making a lasting life-long impression through her experience with Singing River Health System!

Another outstanding comment was received from an experience at the Emergency Department at the hospital in Ocean Springs from a woman who brought her sister, <name redacted, we will call her “Ms A.”> into our Emergency Department after she had a procedure at another hospital and developed issues. 

“Wanted to tell you how impressed we are with the hospital from when I had my sister transported there on Monday. The entire team was overly kind and efficient. We have never had better care and experience – ever.”

Sister of recent ER Guest

She said there were so many that stood out to her but Candy R. was the one they remembered most. Mrs. A. is doing well thanks to our life-saving care and will probably move to our Skilled Nursing Facility. Mrs. A’s sister and her family searched to find the best and she said all pointed to the Singing River Skilled Nursing Facility and we reassured it is the right decision. We wanted to share this with all of you because our team does make a difference in the lives of so many and in this case, it was not just our patient but also her family. 

And a third one to top it off from a website submission:

“To Whom It May Concern: I was seen in the ED at Ocean Springs Hospital late last month and there was an item regarding one of my tests that I needed some help with. With the stress escalated in so many ways these days and especially with healthcare it is easy to run into people that are overwhelmed and this particularly includes people working in healthcare. As a result, I submitted a note just like I am now, and was actually surprised that within the hour I received a call from Kim H., the Director! She listened to my concerns and immediately set out to put together a plan to meet my needs, and, she did so with a compassion that is not only rare, to begin with, but it doesn’t often survive when someone is working at that level (Director). She then followed up with me along the way to ensure the plan was executed properly. This quick action on her part allowed me access to a plan of care based on those results that could have, quite frankly, saved my life. I hope she is appreciated there every day and also because of her I am making Singing River Health System and your hospital my choice for health care on the Coast. Thanks again, Kim!”

Best regards,

Ocean Springs Emergency Guest

Everyone should know, at our ER’s – “You are going to be ok! We got you!” because we are Singing River Strong.

updated 07:00 p.m. August 26, 2020

Singing River is pleased to announce we currently have the lowest 7-day rolling average of positive outpatient tests we have had in a while, at 39.5 per day. We hope it continues to drop, as the outpatient testing level is a precursor to our inpatient hospitalization trend, which is also down to the lowest in many weeks at 20. 

I continue to be in awe of the work, the commitment, the diligence, and the stamina of the Singing River Strong Team in serving our community. 

Amazingly, we have tested 18% of our population. That means almost one out of every five people has been tested in our county. Please see the graphs below for more detail.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 08:00 p.m. August 24, 2020

77 COVID-19 positive tests resulted in today from our labs, bringing the seven-day rolling average to 47. Across the system, we have 27 hospitalized with 10 in the ICU.  

We are very fortunate to be dodging the main brunt of two storms, but it is only a matter of time before we get one directly – hopefully, it will not be this year. If it is, we will weather it well because we are Singing River Strong. Click here for the latest website post on Hurricane Preparedness tips.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 06:00 p.m. August 23, 2020

30 total hospitalized CoViD patients at the moment (9 of whom are in the ICU) and the seven day average of positive outpatient tests lower than it was the last few weeks (now remaining static in the low 40’s), we are in a slightly better position than we have been for the past several weeks.  

Our incredible team of caregivers has been tested like never before, yet remain Singing River Strong throughout this ordeal, delivering life-saving care with unfailing compassion, dedication, and strength. We can all show our appreciation for them in many ways, but right now, I think their biggest ask is that we keep working to suppress this virus so they can catch a break meaning: Please BE SMART, STAY APART, and practice all of the evidence-based precautions that save lives.

Last week Sarah and I went over a few vital statistics that may interest you, all of which you can check out on our Facebook page here.

For example, did you know that we have conducted more than 26,000 CoViD tests, given over 500 doses of Remdesivir to hospitalized patients, and used almost half a million masks to keep everyone safe?  This is truly a storm like no other but we are weathering it and I could not be more proud of our team. If you are wondering about which tests are most accurate and which to choose for your family or work situation, we have put together a cheat sheet for you that is also posted on our website

There are a few companies out there peddling tests that may not be reliable so be thoughtful in your choices and as always let us know if we can guide or assist you in getting tested. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 06:00 p.m. August 21, 2020

To say it has been a tough few weeks is an understatement, although we are now beginning to see our trends shifting downward. While we are not out of the woods yet, with 28 total hospitalized COVID-19 patients at the moment (14 of whom are in the ICU) and our seven day average of positive outpatient tests now remaining static in the low 40’s – we are in a slightly better position than we had been.

If you are looking for a way to help, we urge everyone who can to donate blood at an upcoming event hosted by The Blood Center. To find a blood drive near you and to sign up click here:

Ultimately, we will get through this – together, and remain Singing River Strong.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Seven Day Rolling Average of Positive Cases (Jackson County vs all MS):

Cases and Deaths by Age (Jackson County vs all MS):

COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Mississippi:,0,420.html#Mississippi

updated 06:00 p.m. August 18, 2020

Today we shared a ton of numbers today on Facebook live – click here to review or watch below.
Click here for more information on how to get tested!

updated 08:00 p.m. August 17, 2020

The seven day rolling daily average of positive CoViD tests is still at a ridiculously high level of 60, but it is less than it has been in several weeks. At the moment, we have 32 people hospitalized, with 15 in the ICU and 17 on Med-Surg floors, less than the census of 40 at which we have been running. The State as a whole today also reported the lowest daily number of positives that it has reported in more than a month. So things are getting just slightly better. 

Now is the time to stay focused: isolate if you have even the most minor of symptoms, do not visit family in their households (perhaps we should say instead “only visit people that you won’t hug, touch or talk closely with!”), keep your hands clean and don’t touch your face. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 08:00 p.m. August 14, 2020

We are going through tough times but we should remember to count our blessings. There have been some lost battles, unfortunately, but we also must recognize that 90% of the 23,509 people who have been tested were negative, and more importantly that of the 2,500 people who were positive, over 98% of them have recovered thanks to life-saving care right here with us. 

I spoke with the sister of a friend of mine, who is an Anesthesiologist in South Florida today. They have over 200 positives in their hospital alone and are completely out of labor resources, having to turn people away.  After speaking with her, it was all I could do to count our blessings over and over. This virus is challenging here on our Coast but we are so fortunate to live in a less densely populated area combined with the exceptionally high-quality care we provide for all who need us.  

Our caregivers’ heroic performance in these difficult days is nothing short of amazing. Blessings everywhere. We are also blessed to live in this country. Testing across the US is the highest per capita in the world of the top ten countries (last column) and our deaths per case is about average but it is likely that all deaths are not reported in the lowest countries.  This is a testament to our medical system in this country.  It is not perfect by any means and has many flaws, but relative to others, we are fortunate.     

 Before May 1  New TestsNew CasesNew DeathsDeath/
Deaths per 1MM Pop
USAUSA 6,312,8531,039,90960,9665.9%184
BrazilBRA NA78,1625,4667.0%26
MexicoMEX 92,93417,7991,7329.7%13
UKGBR 730,703167,15026,11415.6%384
IndiaIND 695,31333,0501,0743.2%1
ItalyITA 419,591203,59127,68213.6%458
FranceFRA NA128,44224,08718.8%369
SpainESP NA215,18324,54311.4%525
PeruPER 53,65933,9319432.8%29
IranIRN 173,50893,6575,9576.4%71
After May 1   New CasesNew DeathsDeath/
Test/ per 1MM Pop
USAUSA 3,673,65394,4372.6%154,676
BrazilBRA 2,672,15689,1993.3%NA
MexicoMEX 426,01446,28010.9%6,495
UKGBR 138,47320,09614.5%128,460
IndiaIND 1,822,69537,8642.1%14,025
ItalyITA 44,6387,48416.8%45,930
FranceFRA 62,8536,2079.9%53,514
SpainESP 81,8713,9294.8%NA
PeruPER 399,16918,8684.7%6,505
IranIRN 218,37811,4485.2%19,647
Top 10 countries in reported deaths, before and after May 1 (implied United States Reopen) Source:


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 08:00 p.m. August 13, 2020

Today we are going to leave off numbers and just talk about people – our Rock Star Heroes. There are so many, and they come from every department, we like to call them Rock Star Heroes “fearless warriors” – because you are champions in this war which we will win. 

Yesterday evening and this evening, we took a brief moment to focus on two Registered Nurses who represent many others during our Facebook Live updates. Particularly noteworthy is that on their submissions the co-worker or supervisor who nominated them used the same exact word – a word that many of you hold in common – “selfless.”   

Courtney Lechner, RN from Med-Surg, and Cyndi Horn, RN from our Emergency Department represent the selflessness that so many of you possess. They are a representation of all of our staff who make this place sing, that makes our team work, and who helps us meet our noble Mission to Improve Health and Save Lives. Click here to check them out on Facebook: Med Surg Rock Star  /  Emergency Department Rock Star


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 08:00 p.m. August 10, 2020

While we surpassed a sobering total of more than 20,000 COVID-19 (21,436 as of today) tests and 2,000 (2,258 as of today) positive cases this week, we are seeing glimmers of hope with some slight trending improvements:

Other Key Stats for you this week: Total Currently Hospitalized: 23 medical beds / 16 ICU beds (of 48 total ICU beds). Our rate of positive tests for the seven-day rolling period stands at 75 per day, demonstrating the need for continued vigilance to slow the spread. 

This graphic from MSDH illustrates what our contact tracing confirms: most of the cases and spread continue to be NOT at work or nursing homes, but from home and social settings:

As schools resume across our area we are actively monitoring activity in each of our school districts and offering support to our educators who are working very hard to safely reopen. 

The latest orders from Governor Reeves include new mandates for masks, quarantine orders for positive cases and guidance for schools, all of which can be reviewed here.

As always, reliable and up to date info is available on our Singing River Health System website.  If we can help you, your family, or your teams please call upon us. In the meantime, please BE SMART, STAY APART!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 06:00 p.m. August 7, 2020

Bad news: 86 positives today. Good news: hospitalizations down to 32 from 40. While we remain very concerned, speaking with a few friends in the industry that are seeing the same things today, with a very slight downward trend in hospitalizations. We spoke with one hospital that is down from 60 to 52 (Mississippi), one that is down from 282 to 216 (Florida) and another in Mississippi that said their percentage was similar to ours. Maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that we are finally taking a small step down from this ridiculous plateau.

Despite the decrease, today was again a particularly tough day for those on the front lines in many areas because there are just not enough good people like you in the world to go around. Thank you, especially to those who have been willing to work overtime, to say it is appreciated by the patients and by the world is an understatement. You have all been very strong “overcomers” during this, but I also realize that we cannot stretch forever. If we can hold the line a little longer, we can bust through this wave to the other side and catch our breath.

One of our nurses on the front line, Idaly Turgeau, RN, who is seeing this firsthand shared the song lyrics to “Overcomer” with me and thought it was very appropriate to our situation, and I do too – here are some excerpts:

Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know he’s not gonna let it get the best of you
You’re an overcomer

Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when he reminds you
That you’re an overcomer

You’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to his promises
He wants you to know
You’re an overcomer


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 07:00 p.m. August 5, 2020

The COVID-19 trend remains stationary, which is not good because the length of stay is longer with COVID positive patients than the rest of our normal population.

One small helpful factor is the positive tests per day seven day average, although still ridiculously high, is down ever so slightly, at 75 as of today. 37 total hospitalized at the moment, about the same as it has been for the last seven to ten days. Of those hospitalized, 17 are in the ICU. 

Please tell every single person you see – louder than ever – to immediately literally isolate when they have symptoms no matter how mild. If the world did this, it would have the most tremendous impact. We continue to hear story after story through our contact tracing and general discussions with patients that they tried to ‘fight through it’ and in doing so were not practicing any real isolation and therefore infected more family members while symptomatic.

Yes, asymptomatic transmission is possible, but direct face to face close contact with those who are symptomatic in a household is basically a guarantee for transmission. In other words, your family is potentially the most dangerous people you will encounter when it comes to this virus. If your family has mild symptoms and does not work hard to isolate when they are symptomatic, you are certainly going to get it from them. 

The physicians and nurses and techs and support service areas have all continued to do our very best to help these folks navigate this virus with undying Singing River Strength. I know it seems like this has lasted forever, but it will end. Stay strong and keep on toeing the line a little longer, we can do it. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 10:00 a.m. August 4, 2020

On Monday, we hit the 20,000 mark for COVID-19 testing to date, at 20,125. Total positives to date of 2,030. The seven-day rolling average positives per day crept up to 83.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 1:00 p.m. August 3, 2020

This week we have experienced the pleasure of being able to play “Don’t Stop Believin” several times (the victory tune we play on the overhead speakers system-wide when a CoViD patient goes home) to send several patients home to continue their recovery, but sadly have also wept with families who have lost a loved one to this insidious virus where no modern medicine could overcome what it did to them.  

The fight is far from over and we stand in awe every day at the incredible compassion, resilience, and professionalism that our caregivers deliver as we stay the course. If you would like to meet some of our ICU heroes, check out this ICU tribute video.

Our seven-day average number of newly infected people is now an astonishing 79 per-day, right here in our neighborhoods. Mississippi now has among the fastest and highest rates of spread in the nation, and every community has seen a dramatic increase in cases. As much as I hate to share bad news, we all need to work harder to stop this alarming trend:

As we near the 2,000 count for positive test results it is time for all of us to assume that someone they are going to encounter face to face this week in a household is positive, or has interacted with someone who is positive, whether they know it or not. One thing we get asked about a lot is symptoms. Below is a distribution of symptoms from our contact tracing efforts:

While people can transmit when asymptomatic, it is 100% certain they transmit heavily when they have symptoms.  I contend that it would be most helpful when people have the smallest symptom, no matter what it is, if they would immediately isolate it would help slow the spread.  

The trend over the last seven days shows people are not doing that.  We need our community to do better.  Please tell everyone, if you have a symptom of any kind, ISOLATE IMMEDIATELY.  As always, reliable and up to date info is available on our Singing River Health System website. If we can help you, your family, or your teams please call upon us.  In the meantime, please BE SMART, STAY APART!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 7:00 p.m. July 31, 2020

65 more positive tests today, it is not slowing down very much. We have a sobering total of 1,964 positives tested through our system to date, unfortunately. 22 positives remain hospitalized on the medical floors and 13 in ICUs, for a total of 35. 

I am very proud of all of you all as a team for continuing to step up day after day after day to be Singing River Strong. Below is a graph showing the increases in each city.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. July 30, 2020

Sadly, 141 positives today. The seven-day rolling average is 79. 1,899 total positive since inception. Our community members should assume that someone they are going to encounter face to face this week in a household is positive, or has interacted with someone who is positive, whether they know it or not. From a state by state ranking, for average new daily cases, Mississippi is the 3rd highest in the nation at the moment. 

I appreciate our team members staying Singing River Strong.  As said midway through the first wave, stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions, and fearless in your spirit.  We will get through this, together.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. July 28, 2020

Today with 40 inpatients we reached our highest number of CoViD positive inpatients at one time. 16 are ICU patients and 5 of those are on ventilators. 18,310 tests to date. 1,695 or 9.25% positive. 

I am inspired by the unwavering team caring for all of our patients and guests during this most unusual of times, including the teams providing critical support services.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. July 27, 2020

151 positives in the batch today which includes some weekend results, but the seven day average is up to 92.  Not a good trend, Jackson County’s highest average to date. 

One thing we get asked about a lot is symptoms. Below is a distribution of symptoms from our contact tracing efforts. While people can transmit when asymptomatic, it is 100% certain they transmit heavily when they have symptoms.  I contend that it would be most helpful when people have the smallest symptom, no matter what it is, if they would immediately isolate it would help slow the spread.  The trend over the last seven days shows people are not doing that.  We need our community to do better.  Please tell everyone, if you have a symptom of any kind, ISOLATE IMMEDIATELY. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. July 25, 2020

The fear surrounding the virus and all of its contingencies has been the theme this week, but you can be certain that we remain Singing River Strong and ready for whatever comes our way. COVID-19 is definitely surging in our area and across the state, due partly to people letting their guard down and forgetting the simple steps to protect themselves and others (especially isolating at the first sign of minor symptoms) that are proven to help slow community spread.  

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions this week and some “Facts, not Fears” that you may find helpful: 

When is it safe for employees to return to work after exposure or catching the virus
Standards for safe return are evolving as we learn more about the virus, and it can be confusing to know when it is safe to leave isolation following exposure. While conditions may vary for some, we have put together some general recommendations based on the latest CDC and MSDH guidance that you can review here.

Are our hospitals running out of ICU beds?
While bed capacity is an ongoing concern, thankfully, we do not anticipate running out of beds to care for any who need us, be it COVID related or other conditions. Our extensive planning early on is paying dividends now as we can “surge up” for both critical care and regular medical beds capable of serving patients in isolation or otherwise. Both our Ocean Springs and Pascagoula hospitals are ready to receive patients as needed. What is most important now is for everyone to help slow the spread so that there is never a worry around bed capacity for anyone in the state.  

Should I send my child to school?
As we have done for multiple business and industry partners, we have consulted with many school districts to offer guidance and best practices to mitigate risks upon reopening. Every family situation is different, but all can benefit from reviewing both their school’s reopening plans and the latest info from the MS State Department of Health website here as well as CDC resources here.

These charts from the MSDH illustrate where both the spread and mortality are highest.   

Note that in Jackson County there has been only ONE under 18 hospitalized to date and NO deaths in this age group.

I have recovered and want to donate my plasma, how does that work?
Convalescent Plasma Therapy has proven helpful for some of our patients, and we welcome donations from healthy individuals who have recovered from the virus. We partner with our blood supplier, The Blood Center, to coordinate plasma donations. More info on that process is available here on their website.  

As always, reliable and up to date info is available on our Singing River Health System website. If we can help you, your family, or your teams, please call upon us. In the meantime, please BE SMART, STAY APART!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 8:00 p.m. July 23, 2020

49 positives today, slightly lower than yesterday. Also down one (1) inpatient in total, with 29 hospitalized. 

We have had a few inquiries as to who we partner with to donate plasma towards COVID-19 research: The Blood Center

Some patients who meet appropriate criteria for this treatment have received plasma within our facilities, and while there is no dire regional supply issue, obviously donations are appreciated so please feel free to share the information below with others.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. July 22, 2020

The numbers are creeping slightly downward at the moment, hoping we are at or near the plateau of this current wave. Holding steady with thirty (30) patients hospitalized, down 2 from yesterday. The seven-day rolling average of new positive test results is 75.  We had 58 today. (Remember when the state reports positives for a day, it can be an accumulation of several days including parts of a weekend batch, which is why we look to the seven day average as the trend barometer) Our line is diverging from the state line.

Let’s push it on down! 

“Stay out of people’s faces, especially, mainly, your family’s!”

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. July 21, 2020

We had 105 positives today, all outpatient. Also, test results are starting to come back a tiny bit faster. We have 16 patients in the ICU’s and 16 on medical-surgical floors in isolation at the moment. 

Some have asked about statistics on death rates, so here are some: 

  • Mississippi has the 12th highest per capita COVID death rate.
  • Of the 20 states with the highest per capita COVID death rate, Mississippi ranks second with the highest percentage of deaths aged 35-54.

While positive cases continue to rise, the death rate has gone down here slightly (22 with us so far since inception) –

However the death toll in Mississippi is expected by some statisticians to rise as noted below:


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. July 20, 2020

Astonishingly, the 7-day rolling average of positive test results is 71 per day. We have confirmed 1,240 total positive cases, with 15,249 tests performed by our system to date. Over the past week, we have hit a new record of nearly 2,500 tests administered to our community. Today alone, we had 198 positive results, many from the backlog of the outside labs, not all from one day, but still a record-setting number.

Two interesting facts:

  1. The United States is using more than 50% of the testing resources produced in the world, yet we only make up 4% of the world’s population.
  2. The United States has the highest per capita testing of any country in the world (there are 205 countries in the world in case you were wondering!) 

A little info that might help as to why testing is taking longer than it should:

As of last Tuesday, we were receiving test results in 24-hours consistently, but after the extreme testing demands post 4th of July weekend, with hundreds of thousands of people in the south requesting to be tested, with or without symptoms. It went quickly to well over 48-hours, to now in some cases five to eight days to receive results.

I called the president of the national lab company that processes the COVID-19 tests for us, and he shared we are much better off than many parts of the nation, even the region, where they are at 14-days or longer. I do believe the national lab is doing what they can; the problem is not the processing, but rather the chemical reagents are intermittently not available. The amount of work our lab does in processing their part is tremendous, but we do not control the reagent production of the testing process. 

This is America and you would think we could figure out how to manufacture more reagents somehow. Alas, if we can run out of something as easy to make as toilet paper, you can imagine how during this explosion in demand of testing nationwide, we could easily run out of something harder to make like the tubes (that aren’t made in America normally), swabs (of all things), and the most difficult item required: the chemical reagent that is the main short supply factor that is causing all national labs to be backed up. Until more reagents to keep up with the growing demand are made, at the national or international plants that make them, it could get worse.  It should not take this long, but we should not run out of toilet paper either, and we did! 

Everyone should be careful about seeking the alleged “rapid test” some places are advertising. It is a blood test which many offered in our region are only 60% accurate. You might as well flip a coin than pay for or rely upon one of these “rapid” resulting tests.

The one thing I can assure you is that every human that works at Singing River Health System is doing everything they possibly can to test everyone who wishes to be and help them receive their results back fast. Our laboratory, primary care, and inpatient personnel involved in the process are working extremely hard to expedite your results. Some of them have worked with only three or four days off since March 9. The second we get results from the national lab, a note goes straight to the provider and they or their nurse calls patients 24/7 – we are calling even some at 3 am to be sure results are received in real-time. 

In the meantime please beg everyone you know to:

1. Isolate if they have minor symptoms.

2. Avoid unnecessary unmasked close or physical contact.

3. Wash their hands every hour, on the hour or more, especially when in the most dangerous and likely place to contract the virus: their own home.

4. Lastly, do NOT touch their face.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. July 17, 2020

Miss Ida Goes Home

Ms. Ida Spivey spent almost two months in our care while battling COVID-19. Hear her and the Singing River Team tell the story of how a great team of clinicians and her fighting spirit won against the insidious virus here.

Testing Information

Singing River has several different types of tests:

  1. The regular universal “PCR” nasal swabs which are shipped out daily to a reference lab, American Esoteric Labs (AEL).  This is the most conclusive test and what doctors recommend in non-emergent situations. Typically this had been taking 1 to 2 days for results to finalize, however due to the fourth of July implosion in demand of testing (over 2,000 tests this week requested), the turnaround time for these tests at the moment has now extended to beyond 6 to 7 days here.  Some places in our region are taking ten to 14 days or more. They are expecting it to get back to within three to four days later next week, but who knows.  Most of the supplies (the chemical reagents, the tubes, and even the swabs!) for this testing at the labs are also rationed by the government.  
  2. 15-minute rapid swab for Emergency Room patients that are pending admission (particularly ICU) to the hospital.  Supplies for this rapid test are very limited, we get a governmental allocation each week, sometimes zero.  Inventory at times has been below 20.  Labs that use this test otherwise can be sanctioned due to the national shortage.
  3. 4-hour swab for hospitalized and trauma surgical patients.  Supplies limited for this also, governmental allocation as well.  
  4. Antibody blood test (not effective to diagnose positives unless a person has been positive long enough to begin creating antibodies); those are being done in Mobile but are not helpful in ruling out a current positive from what we understand. But they can be done in 15-30 minutes. Many nonaffiliated places are promoting these fast tests but they are not extremely useful.

Check out the latest on testing here on Facebook Live.

General System Update

We went over the 1,000 mark on CoViD-positive tests today … we are still seeing lower acuity in general, but concerned about spread to those who are most vulnerable and concerned that we have not crested the wave yet. Please beg everyone you know to:

  1. Isolate if they have minor symptoms
  2. Wash their hands every hour on the hour or more
  3. Don’t touch their face
  4. Avoid unmasked close contact with others, especially elderly

Latest Statistics:

Seven Day rolling average of Positive Cases:(as of the 14th with the blue line (Jackson County) finally under the red line (State) which is good). #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Forecasted Jackson County caseloads if we do not slow down the spread:

State Stats from the MSDH website:

updated 8:00 p.m. July 15, 2020

13,125 total tests to date with 932 positives, or about 7% positive (the state overall is at 21%, and the nation is around 9%). Yesterday was the lowest # of outpatient positives in a while, at 20.

In the good news category, we had CoViD discharges yesterday! Check out the latest on testing here on facebook live. As we bear down and force ourselves through this difficult second wave, remember who you are and why God put you here – stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions, and fearless in your spirit…

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. July 13, 2020

The standard COVID-19 PCR swab test for outside lab testing with a 24-48 hour turnaround time is now taking, in some cases, up to five (5) days due to a new astounding seven-day record of well over 2,000 tests performed in one week. Even though some test results are still pending, we sadly had more than 130 positives cases added to our total since Friday afternoon.

Although, Singing River Health System reached the 150-mark today of COVID-19 positive guests discharged from the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic. Don’t stop believin’!

Twenty-four (24) COVID-19 positive individuals remain hospitalized at the moment. Only three (3) are on ventilators. 

Please tell everyone you know to stop getting in each other’s personal spaces and faces, and to wash their hands every hour, on the hour.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. July 9, 2020

Not a great day as far as case numbers – yesterday was a rough one with 24 new positives, but today was over the top with 40 COVID-19 positive cases resulting in our labs.  

This evening we touched base with some of our primary care team members about several things, including testing availability and one of the major ongoing problems: people ignoring minor symptoms and not isolating immediately when they first arrive. Jillian Kimbrell, CFNP, and others at the Singing River Medical Clinic – Ocean Springs highlight this concern and a few other issues we need to work on to stop the spread of COVID-19 – watch on the segment on Facebook Live HERE

This graph shows the daily trend in cases in Jackson County versus the entire state of Mississippi – notice we did very well busting the curve in the first wave (got the blue line (us) under the red line (state)), and while we are now doing a tiny bit better than the rest of the state, as a community we did not fare quite as well initially in this second wave. 

Interestingly the demographics below show that about half of all cases are people under 40….let’s hope they heed our warnings to physically distance and isolate when they have any symptom so that they do not infect and cause challenges for their loved ones over 40…

Be Smart, Stay Apart.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 8:00 p.m. July 8, 2020

Dear Team,

I am so proud of you for working so hard through all of this. We made it through the first wave, we can handle this one too.  We will get through it.  Let’s stay focused and do what we do. You are what it means to be Singing River Strong. When the book of your life is written, this is a time that will punctuate your commitment to the Mission to Improve Health and Save Lives. You are Singing River Heroes.

Click here to see Facebook testimony why a few of our nursing staff feel we are Singing River Strong!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. July 7, 2020

Over the last 7 days, Singing River Health System had 160 positive COVID-19 cases result, yielding the highest 7-day average since inception with 90 positives over the weekend. We have surpassed 10,000 tests performed with 675 positives to date. 

Compared to other facilities in our region and throughout the country, we are fortunate to have only seven (7) people in the ICU and ten (10) in regular Med-Surg rooms presently; only three (3) of those are on ventilators.  The concern is that the current number of outpatient active cases could easily be spread to the many vulnerable people in our community who, if infected, would require hospitalization. 

While testing has clearly increased, so has the general proliferation of the virus, particularly in the younger demographic. We are very concerned these younger people are going to accidentally infect older and more vulnerable people with compromised immune systems. 

We are promoting a motto of “be smart, stay apart” or “be persistent, stay physically distant” to try to get people to recognize that they are often spreading it by being in close physical contact with each other (hugging, close-talking, face-to-face interactions, sharing plates, touching each other). If the current trend continues, where people have immense close physical contact, and sick people refuse to isolate, we are headed for a very difficult peak.

Feel free to share this message so that hopefully more people will avoid contact and isolate if they are sick. In today’s Facebook Live segment, Dr. Ekenna discussed many of these concerns, along with some of the Facts versus Fears. Watch here: Facebook Live Facts vs. Fears 3.0

Please spread the word. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 7:00 p.m. July 2, 2020

34 positives today, tied with record highest number in one day thus far. Of course, testing is at a pinnacle, with over 1,600 tests performed in the last seven days, more than double what we were doing when at the peak between the beginning of March and the end of June. 

Please encourage your friends and family to follow the guidelines we have put out on Facebook and our website to help slow the spread in our community.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Be smart, stay apart - coronavirus safety advice

updated 9:00 p.m. July 1, 2020

We continue to see an uptick in CoViD-positive overall cases, with four-teen (14) outpatient positives yesterday and one (1) new positive that required inpatient hospitalization. We now have more than 500 positives since inception, with 9,222 people tested. While we are fortunate to not have many currently requiring our ICU, we are however concerned that the proliferation among younger people could harm older more vulnerable people who could need critical care services. 

Spread the word to those you know: if you have even the most minor of symptoms, isolate immediately at all costs. Do this for the benefit of others, not yourself, so you do not infect them. Do not be the cause of a vulnerable friend or family member to succumb to this virus. If there ever was a time in this world for putting others first, the time is now. Do not cough on or around someone, do not shake hands, do not hug or kiss anyone, do not eat or drink from the same dishes as others, do not get too close to anyone honestly.

Tell your friends to apply sunscreen on their own!

People ask all the time what are the best sources of timely information besides the CDC, and there is no better place than our website – or watching the Facebook live episodes (click that link to see today’s episode with Dr. Babar and Buddy Gager, RN, from ICU as an example) and Facebook posts for the most updated information.  

Please like our page and ask your friends to like it to help keep everyone updated as things change. 

Also, please see below for an article we plan to send to a few publications about our contact tracing and community education journey, thought we would share with you.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. June 29, 2020

Just like the rest of the country, here in our service area, the current 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases has crept up. We are up to an average of 11 positives per daywith a record 34 CoViD positive cases on Saturday. Fortunately, these are mostly younger people not requiring hospitalization, but the concern is that they will infect someone in their household who is older or vulnerable. While it is partly a function of more robust testing (we have performed nearly 1,200 tests in the last 7 days) clearly the main issue is that people have let their guard way down. 

We continue to see these trends in recent cases:

  • People with mild but evident SYMPTOMS NOT ISOLATING to avoid infecting others
  • Spreading in social circles (FRIENDS AND FAMILY)
  • More and more younger people infecting each other 

While if every infected person wore a mask it would reduce spread, the spreaders we see are usually people with mild symptoms not acknowledging that they might have it; our contact tracing again shows that it would even be infinitely be more helpful than masks if people with symptoms, no matter how mild, would notice it and immediately ISOLATE.  This is particularly true with members of your household. 

At workplaces, people working in close proximity to each other should immediately address anyone in their area with a recurring light cough or other symptoms. CoViD symptoms are being constantly overlooked and dismissed by spreaders as sinus issues. 

The good news is that the death rate in our area is way down, but we beg everyone to remember that vulnerable people with situations like diabetes and a high BMI have an extremely difficult time with this disease and may not survive.  While the virus may be “no big deal” to a young healthy person, it can be deadly for those around them who may be more vulnerable – and there still is no cure or vaccine for them.  

Our dedicated team has worked extremely hard to care for all impacted by this insidious virus, and now they need your help to reverse the outbreak trend. The country’s ability to return to normal activities such as going to church, work, and school depends upon everyone taking personal responsibility to protect their families and their communities.

We need everyone to be more careful in washing their hands more frequently, avoiding face touching and hugging, and watching for symptoms of others within their circles, and more than anything if you or someone you know has symptoms, no matter how mild, ISOLATE and get tested. If you hug someone or share a serving plate or shake hands with someone (at a graduation party, church, home, work, or any gathering) who has it and is coughing, you probably will get it. Contrary to many social media assertions, I assure you it is for some people a lot worse than the flu.

The days of feeling sick and just trying to tough it out without finding out what it is have passed because we need to be more cognizant of others and how it affects them. If you think you might have symptoms, get checked out and ISOLATE – for the sake of those around you. If you or a friend or family member feel a little hotter than normal, or your friends or family notice a dry cough, assume you or they might have COVID-19.

Call us at 228-809-5044 if you need to get tested. For a handy guide on prevention to review or share check out: Stay Focused: Reenter & Reopen Safely


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 10:00 p.m. June 26, 2020

The current 7-day rolling average has crept up to 11 positives per daywith a record 27 positives yesterdayFortunately, these are mostly younger people not requiring hospitalization, but the concern is that they will infect someone in their household who is older or vulnerable. 

While the jump is partially a function of more testing (we performed a record 1,177 tests in the last 7 days) clearly, the main issue is that people have let their guard down.

We continue to see these trends in recent cases:

  • People with mild but evident SYMPTOMS NOT ISOLATING to avoid infecting others
  • Spreading in social circles (FRIENDS AND FAMILY)
  • More and more younger people infecting each other 

If every infected person wore a mask it would reduce spread. Yet, the spreaders we see are usually people with mild symptoms, not acknowledging that they might have COVID-19. Again, our contact tracing shows that it would be infinitely helpful if people with symptoms, no matter how mild, would notice them and immediately ISOLATE – this is particularly true with members of your household.

At workplaces, people working in close proximity to each other should immediately address anyone in their area with a recurring light cough or other symptoms.  CoViD symptoms are being constantly mistaken and dismissed by spreaders as sinus issues. 

The good news is that the death rate is way down, but I beg everyone to remember that vulnerable people with situations like diabetes and a high BMI have an extremely difficult time with this disease and may not survive. 

We need everyone to be more careful with respect to hand washing, face touching and watching for symptoms of others within their circles, and more than anything if you or someone you know has symptoms, no matter how mild, ISOLATE, and get tested.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 04:00 p.m. June 23, 2020

7,279 tests through today with 368 positives. The average per day is down just slightly to 6 per day, from 7 per day last week. There is no doubt that we will have periodic little spikes – while the average for the last week was 6, we had a few days with 1 and one day with 12 largely from a family infection.

Again it seems the most common way it is spread is by symptomatic people in their households.  If people with symptoms, especially in their households, would isolate, get tested, and exercise more precautions, it would reduce the spread more than anything

Keep preaching and educating on this so we can minimize the spread and help our community be #SingingRiverStrong

Watch this update on Facebook Live and visit our Stay Focused page for reference and download a flyer you can share or print as a reminder of how to stay safe. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 06:00 p.m. June 18, 2020

Through the end of Wednesday, Singing River performed 6,749 COVID-19 tests this week, with 279 or 4% resulting positive. We continue to test more than 100 people per day.

There is certainly an unsurprising spike going on coast wide, with younger people being impacted, and an average of 7 positives per day over the past 7 days. We only have 7 inpatients positive at the moment, which is very good considering the increase in daily positive tests.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 06:00 p.m. June 12, 2020

You may be hearing news of spikes in many communities in the state and while our trend is not up as much, we are seeing the numbers a little higher than it was two weeks ago. The data however deserves a closer look.

Our 7-day rolling average has grown to 4.9 positive tests per day; fortunately for the patients who have tested positive almost all are outpatients, recovering at home. While that slight increase in daily positive tests is bad news, the good news is that we know it is a function of the combination of the world being back to operating more normally and significantly more testing, with over 100 tests per day performed for the past few days. The better news is that inpatient / hospitalized patient volumes remain low and stable, with only five (5) COVID-19 patients requiring hospital care at the moment.

We are thankful for our clinical leaders who early in this crisis initiated our own patient navigators to conduct contact tracing and support anyone testing positive at home or in the hospital. The navigators provide essential education and dedicated care to help each patient recover safely and not spread the virus to others and it has clearly made a huge difference in our containment efforts. 

This graph shows its favorable impact –

Another good news point is our great success in treating certain patients who meet clinical criteria with the drug Remdesivir. We have even been able to extubate several patients from ventilators who might not have fared as well without this treatment. Hats off to our physicians and caregivers who have successfully treated our patients with the absolute latest and best therapies as we learn more about the virus every day.

FYI: The average age of those who are positive continues to migrate to younger people, with 46 being the average age of those testing positive in the last few weeks, whereas in the initial stages it was 55+. 

Everyone needs to keep their guard up when it comes to avoiding a coughing person.  If you hug someone or share a serving plate or shake hands with someone (at a graduation party, church, home, work or any gathering) who has it and is coughing, you probably will get it.  There has been much debate over asymptomatic transmission (being able to get it from someone not showing symptoms). Some experts believe asymptomatic carriers are not a primary culprit for spreading it, which is a conclusion that is congruent with our contact tracing, and emphasizes the fact that education should be most focused on avoiding clear sources of transmission – from people showing some symptoms, even if minor. 

In addition, we learned that many people have symptoms but ignore them or are relatively unaware of the symptom, whether it be an initial cough, fever or fatigue. This occurrence causes many people to erroneously fall into the category of “asymptomatic” because the symptom is not reported. This is why we emphasize the fact that you should work the hardest to avoid people who are coughing – as an example, yesterday someone who was positive and ended up infecting several others in their household thought they simply were coughing from a sinus infection, but it was Coronavirus. They gave it to all of the others in their household. The days of feeling sick and just trying to tough it out without finding out what it is have passed because we need to be more cognizant of others and how it affects them. 

If you think you might have symptoms, get checked out – for the sake of those around you! If you or a friend or family member feel a little hotter than normal, or your friends or family notice a dry cough, get checked out immediately and assume you or they might have it. Call us at 809-5044 if you need to get tested.

Speaking of getting things checked out, the new antibody tests we have been holding out for are here! They are now available and are 99.8% to 100% accurate. If you think you might have had Coronavirus and would just like to know, you can ask one of our primary care providers at any of our clinics to order you a test or receive it free at our Blood Drive on June 19 in Pascagoula (check our Facebook for details).

If you have current active symptoms, they will order the standard nasal swab (PCR) test. Now having accurate antibody tests available provides a new dimension of screening and research ability. Click here to learn more.

As we continue on this journey to stay Singing River Strong, keep an eye on our Facebook Live at 5:30 every day – click: here for a recent feature of some of our phenomenal nursing staff, just a few of the many ongoing heroes on the Mission to Improve Health and Save Lives.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 07:00 p.m. June 10, 2020

Our seven (7) day rolling average has grown to 4.9 positive tests per day; fortunately, for the patients who have tested positive, they are almost all outpatients.

While the slight increase in daily positive tests is bad news, the good news is we know it is a function of the combination of the world reopening and significantly more testing, with more than 100 COVID-19 tests performed within our system each day.

The better news is that inpatient volume remains low and stable, with only five (5) inpatients at the moment and zero on a ventilator. Another good news point is that we have had great success in treating patients who meet certain criteria with the drug Remdesivir. We have been able to successfully extubate several patients from ventilators who might not have fared as well without this treatment.

FYI: The average age of COVID-19 positive cases continues to migrate towards our younger population, with 46 being the average age of those testing positive in the last few weeks, whereas during the initial stages it was 55+. 

Everyone needs to keep their guard up when it comes to avoiding a coughing person.  If you hug someone or share a serving plate or shake hands with someone (at a graduation party, church, home, work, or any gathering) who has COVID-19 and is especially coughing, you most likely will get it. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued research that shows asymptomatic carriers are not primary culprits of spreading the virus, a conclusion that is congruent with our own contact tracing efforts and emphasizes the fact that you should work hard to avoid others who are coughing. For example, a positive individual ended up infecting several others in their household because they thought they were coughing from a sinus infection, but it was Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We continue on this journey to stay Singing River Strong

On Facebook Live Wednesday (click here to watch): we featured some of our phenomenal nursing staff, just a few of the many ongoing heroes on the Mission to Improve Health and Save Lives. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 10:00 a.m. June 4, 2020

With a few more positive outpatient tests today (no new inpatients), the seven (7) day average of positive CoViD tests has crept up to an average of 2.14 per day, versus the prior seven day average of 1 per day.

Not shocking with everything opening up, but we need to keep singing the tune and preaching: “be careful with your hands (wash them and don’t touch your face) and no hugging or handshaking.” 

We passed the 5,000 mark in the number of tests performed. 257 positives to date. Eighty-eight (88) admissions since inception, with only four (4) remaining inpatient. Little by little the world is getting back to normal. 

Today on Facebook Live we touched on our ‘Team of Rock Stars,’ click here to check it out. Many people have gone above the extra mile by working up to 80+ hour weeks or crossing over into nonstandard jobs, etc., but it takes every person on our team or band in harmony doing their part, large or small, to create the Symphony of Care so, in my book, you are a “team of rock stars.”

As our Diversity and Inclusion Committee says we are “Many Voices, One Sound!” = #SingingRiverStrong 

Keep it up, we are getting back to normal soon. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. May 31, 2020

We have only had two (2) CoViD positives in the last four days, both outpatient. If we go three days in a row with zero, we plan to convert updates to one weekly.  

More importantly today I want to share with you the following:

Rock Star Chaz Thompson was awarded the Sean Cooley Memorial Auxiliary scholarship. He had not heard Sean’s story so the team took him downstairs to learn more, check out his note afterward below, this hit me in the soul and I hope it will do the same for you.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Before the day ends, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and express my gratitude to the Auxiliary Scholarship Committee of Singing River Health System, who chose me amongst many to be this year’s recipient of the 2020 Sean Cooley Scholarship. 

Receiving this scholarship will assist me in expanding my education in a profession that has truly given me nothing but JOY. Being a chosen recipient of this scholarship has a much GREATER meaning to me than just receiving funding to continue my education. 

Most people in our community know the history of the scholarship, but for those of you who are unaware. Here goes a little if what I know… This particular scholarship was founded in the remembrance of MSgt Sean Cooley, RN of the U.S. Naval Reserves, an outstanding HERO, who dedicated his life and career to serving our great country. In addition, to his military service and dedication to our country, he also was also a HERO here in our community where he served as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department of Singing River Health Systems. Knowing the foundational history of this scholarship is priceless and I wish, I could have had the opportunity to have personally met this well-respected individual, who has touched the hearts and lives of my many including my own. His legacy exemplifies what the core values of our health system really mean and I am certain it will continue to live on.   

  1. Our Patients are Guests
  2. Quality is in Our DNA
  3. Caring Communication is Key
  4. Serve with Heart and Soul
  5. Yes is the Answer
  6. Teamwork Always Wins 

Today gave me the confirmation and drive to finish what I’ve always set out to do, which is to be a pioneer in the provision of care for my patients, their families and my community. – Quality is Key. 

To the family of Sean Cooley and Auxiliary Scholarship Committee of Singing River Health System, thank you again. This is an honor and I will not disappoint!  

Talk about a way, to end a Memorial Day Week!  

Sincerely, Chaz Thompson #SingingRiverStrong 💙

updated 7:00 p.m. May 29, 2020

Two (2) COVID-19 positive tests resulted in today. Singing River has now tested 4,773 individuals to date. 

As we move into a new phase of managing COVID-19 until a vaccine or cure is found, we want to give a BIG thank you to our community on behalf of all of us at Singing River Health System.

The heartfelt outpouring of love, support, and prayers for our team during this crisis has been remarkable.

Our combined community and health system efforts have made a huge impact in limiting outbreaks and reducing the curve:

Singing River Health System, due to our advanced testing capabilities and team members is approaching the 5,000 mark for virus testing and will continue to provide this service to all who need it. 

We are strong but not invincible. Be a leader, save a life! 

We are hopeful that the worst is behind us but must remember that the virus could easily resurge if we do not stay focused. Please keep reminding your friends, family, and coworkers to continue practicing social distancing, avoid people who cough, and wash hands and belongings frequently.

Singing River Health System facilities are the cleanest and safest place in town.

With our commitment to providing the highest-quality care, you can now schedule appointments with your doctor, elective surgeries, or tests with complete confidence that we are ready and waiting with an ultra-sanitized and safe environment throughout our hospitals, emergency rooms, and clinics.

Again, we want you all to know that every meal, every gift, every handmade mask; every note, prayer, and salute has helped to lift our spirits in this difficult time and kept the team recharged for the true honor of caring for our neighbors and friends in their time of need. 

Every act of kindness has made a difference in helping weather this storm together, getting through tough times like we always do, Singing River Strong.

Brighter days are ahead for all of us and we will continue to keep you updated on much more than the virus going forward. As always, we are here for you so please let us know how to be of service. THANK YOU for your support during this difficult time.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 28, 2020

Singing River Health System had ZERO COVID-19 positive tests today. A great day. The average per day over the last ten days is down to 1 positive per day, almost all outpatient positives. 

Melissa Schnoor and many others as part of our Community Health efforts offered free COVID-19 testing and education today at the Jackson County Fair Grounds. Overall within 5 hours, we tested 115 individuals ranging from 3 years old to 90 years old, we are very proud of the team that put this together for our community. We spoke with Caroline Rossi on Facebook Live – click here or copy this link to check it out: Ortho/Neuro Nursing


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 27, 2020

We had two (2) positive COVID-19 tests today. Since the inception of the outbreak, we have discharged more than 80 COVID-19 positive inpatients, and only five (5) remain hospitalized.

Check out our two recent Facebook features – today Dr. Sexton explained the connection between COVID-19 and a new condition in children called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, and Laura Sessum from Singing River Foundation shared a little about their awesome efforts. 

Stay Focused and Stay Singing River Strong!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 21, 2020

ZERO positives today. A great day. We also spoke with just a few members of our Singing River Strong “Rad” team today about some things they see with COVID Patients on Facebook live: “Radiology on Facebook Live!” 

updated 8:00 p.m. May 20, 2020

Four (4) Positive COVID-19 outpatient test results in today.

We need our community to not let their guard down and stay focused on their surroundings and actions. Don’t hug, don’t shake hands, don’t touch your face, and stay far away from coughers. 

We had the privilege of featuring a glimpse into our Women’s and Children’s Services today on Facebook Live! – check it out by clicking here. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 19, 2020

A great day: Zero (0) new Coronavirus positive tests AND interview on Facebook with Dr. Finan! – Click here to watch.


updated 8:00 p.m. May 18, 2020

As of today, we have performed 3,793 COVID tests, with 235 or 6% of those return as positive. In the last 24 hours, we had 2 positives. It has clearly subsided, but we are still hoping to get to a few days in a row with zero positives. 

On Facebook Live we interviewed one of the fearless warriors from the ICU, Richr’D Moore, RN. Click here to check it out, we continue to salute all of the heroes that have worked so hard on the front lines. 

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 5:00 p.m. May 15, 2020

Singing River had three (3) positive test results Friday. 

Fun stat for the day: we completed our 10,000th televisit, and the IT team continues to help us use technology to keep the world moving forward. 

Thursday on Facebook Live we featured Physical Therapy and just a few of the many interesting specialized things they can do.

Check it out here: PT Live on Facebook 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Better Together, Stronger Than Ever: Hospital Week 2020

updated 9:00 p.m. May 13, 2020

ZERO COVID Positive test results today.

If we can get to a few days in a row of 1 or zero, we plan to drop sending ‘daily’ updates and go to periodic as needed. 

In other news, today we highlighted our amazing Structural Heart Program featuring Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Tasan

Click here to see it on Facebook Live or here for YouTube. 

We are so fortunate to have such a strong heart program, it is part of the foundation of being Singing River Strong!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer
Structural Heart Program Co-Directors Dr. Ediz Z. Tasan & Dr. Michael C. Cunningham

updated 7:00 p.m. May 12, 2020

Today we had only one (1) positive. We have had 74 inpatients since the inception of the outbreak, and only 8 remain hospitalized, and of those 8, only 3 remain in the ICU.

Don’t Stop Believin’!

Tuesday’s Facebook Live highlighted our Singing River Cafés and Food Services Team. I know many of you are anxious to get back to a full menu and salad bars, hopefully that will be soon! We are headed back to normal. 

Stay the course and #StaySingingRiverStrong!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 11, 2020

After a great trend of 0’s and 1’s over a seven day period, today we have a little spike with four (4) positives. One day does not make a trend, but we need to remain diligent in preaching safety to our community. 

Today’s Facebook Live talks about a few of the many aspects of facility safety: “Singing River Safe.”   

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers out there! Thank you all for being Singing River Strong during these trying times and especially for the special place you hold in your hearts for the people you brought into this world.

Here is a little tune we will dedicate to all of our awesome mothers on this great day, featuring one of our very own Singing River Health System Heroes from the Materials Management Department, Mr. Jamie Hyatt. 

Go to our Facebook to check it out: Everything’s Gonna Be Alright!”


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. May 9, 2020

All you get for an update on Coronavirus today is our Singing River Coronavirus Playlist. These are songs many of you sent in during the course of this pandemic, we consolidated them into “A Singing River Story”

Apple Music: Click Here

Spotify: Click Here

Happy Listening. #StaySingingRiverStrong

updated 7:00 p.m. May 8, 2020

Stats: 0 positives today, only one (1) yesterday – a great trend. 3,190 tests performed to date. 223 positive test results to date.

Thirteen (13) souls have lost the battle to this insidious virus since it started on March 9 in our county. Fifty-eight (58) people have been hospitalized and then discharged and completed recovery at home since this virus started.

Ten (10) people remain hospitalized (4 in the ICU, 6 on a regular Med/Surg Floor). We hope to play “Don’t Stop Believin” some more in the coming weeks as these folks get to recover and go home.  

More than 8,000 televisits, 6,000 hotline calls, and 2,500+ heroes in this war. Next Week is HOSPITAL WEEK, and we are going to safely celebrate accordingly, as we are all so thankful for our family of fearless warriors here at Singing River Health System.

Don’t forget Mother’s Day is on Sunday – many are looking for ways to make sure their mom, grandmothers and others who are deserving of the honor feel appreciated on a special day – hopefully most will practice physical distancing with them this Mother’s Day, as COVID-19 is still out there in our community. 

Remember just a few of our tips to not cause a COVID DEATH:

  • Stay with family you live with under the same roof, do not visit other households unnecessarily.
  • Virtually visit with family via Zoom, FaceTime, etc.
  • If you are around mom or grandma, stay a safe distance away (one meter (3.37 feet) to six feet apart, and give air hugs not real ones! etc.)

Be smart and careful about Graduation celebrations too! Our contact tracing shows most spread is not from workplaces or businesses, but usually from family social gatherings in homes! FYI the Governor extended the “Safer at Home” order today and allowed salons and gyms to reopen at 8 p.m. Monday. Here are some resources to help navigate reopening and continue keeping everyone safe.

Check out Facebook Live where we talked about some of the above information and stats today. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. May 6, 2020

Singing River had zero COVID-19 positive results back from our labs today, one of the first true ZERO positive days since March 9th – and how FITTING that it is on NURSES DAY – a rolling six-day average of below 1 due to the “zero” days!

In addition, our esteemed Chief Nursing Officer Susan Russell shared with me that 2020 was proclaimed “The Year of the Nurse” in honor of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, with the theme “a voice to lead nursing the world to health.” How interesting as she pointed out, the timing of this being during the largest pandemic of our lifetime, AND how appropriate the “voice to lead” tag aligns with our Singing River brand.

As if that were not enough alignment, today on Facebook live we talked to just a few of the phenomenal what I call “navigator-epidemiologist-contact tracer-curve buster-nurses,” who literally have helped fulfill our mission to improve health and save lives.  

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. May 5, 2020

Only one (1) new positive result Tuesday. Stay strong, we are coming through it.

Today heroes from Keesler Air Force Base honored the Singing River Health System Team in Pascagoula with a flyover, tipping their wing to the healthcare heroes on the front lines of this war. Click here to see it from Facebook live: “Air Force honors our Health Care Heroes.” Thank you ALL for your service!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. May 4, 2020

Today was a really good day: ZERO CoViD-19 positives. 

We need a few days in a row of zeros before we can declare the pathway to victory clearer, but we will enjoy this news and hope for another “zero-day” tomorrow. 

We had a chance on Facebook live to speak with our awesome pharmacy team, check them out by clicking here: “Pharmacy Team on Facebook Livewhere they talk about the Safety created by the automated SwissLog Pharmacy Robot that interfaces with our Epic system, about how they serve with heart and soul, as well as how they have been on top of things during the CoViD pandemic, including the latest thoughts on exciting things like the promising potential results with Remdisivir.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. May 3, 2020

Only one (1) positive today.

Not as good as zero, but better than two or more of course. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. May 2, 2020

Only two positive COVID-19 results today. Not bad but we need a few zero-days in a row. Continue to preach that everyone should wash their hands, don’t touch their face, and don’t visit, so we can keep this trend going and get the world back to work. Earlier in the week when we talked about “Misnomers” – a.k.a. inaccurate names on Facebook live. 

Click here if you want to see it.

During this crisis, there have been a lot of names or descriptions that are not exactly correct, which we touched on in that segment.  Here are a few highlights:

  • One of the biggest misnomers for how we should distance is the term “Social Distancing” because the world is actually using social media more than ever.  Our friends, family and the whole world is at our fingertips socially more than it has ever been: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facetime, zoom, skype, etc. The initiative really should be called “Physical Distancing” (no hugs or handshakes)
  • Even the name “COVID” is a slight misnomer or really a “mis-acronym” – technically it should be CoViD or SARS-CoV-2.
  • Flatten the Curve” – Flatten the Curve implied simply spreading or only pushing out the number cases over a longer period so the infrastructure of the world could handle it, not the more critical goal of less total cases.  Our goal was and should be to bust, smash or “shrink the curve” for less total cases, which is what we (you) did with community outreach: 300 fewer deaths and a countless number of cases we avoided as shown in the graph from the update earlier this week.
  • Direction about when and how masks are appropriate often involves a misconception if not a misnomer: masks may not save you. If you are around a cougher, even if they have a mask, they can still transfer CoVid to you.  A new study shows a person with a mask who coughs somehow actually ends up with more CoViD on the outside of the mask than the inside (likely from face touching and adjusting the mask). Avoid coughers like the plague! Ask them to isolate. The bottom line, masks are not a panacea. If the coughers isolated there would be much less need for masks in public.
  • Asymptomatic” – We have heard a lot of folks say they are asymptomatic when they are really “mildly symptomatic.” A low-grade fever IS a symptom!  You just might not think it is a big deal or even notice or mind it.  A “mild” or unproductive cough is also a symptom, just as shortness of breath is a symptom. A person who has mild symptoms is not asymptomatic. 
  • A misleading misnomer advertised in the world is the common “Drive-Up Testing” site. Usually, these are set up as drive-through “screenings” and they turn a huge percentage of people away and do not test them. We here at all of our Singing River clinics instead have “call-ahead screening” with “drive-through” testing, after you have called and been screened.  We don’t waste people’s time having them drive out for a screening that can be done over the phone.
  • Another misconception (not so much a misnomer) is what surrounds “antibody testing.”  Current antibody testing is inaccurate, not FDA approved, and with many false positives. We need to wait until it is over 90%, which will be soon. One City in Texas spent half a million dollars on tests and they turned out to only be 20% accurate.  That’s less than a coin flip (which you can do for free).  Our position is, we have plenty of regular CoViD tests to see if you actually have it, so we are not encouraging the antibody testing until it is approved or more accurate.
  • Gatherings of 10 or more” is a “mis-number” because there is no magic number for gatherings to be safe.  More important than a number is the hygiene, infection rate, comorbidities, etc of the group.  Less than ten with one cougher can be more dangerous than twelve who are not coughing.  And two where one is a cougher is more dangerous than ten.-
  • The “Safer at Home” order state could in some ways be a term that is a misnomer because some people might actually be safer at work if they wash their hands and don’t touch their faces at work more than they do at home.  As we have said, our contact tracing shows most people got this at home from family visiting, so we think that is a slight misnomer for someone to assume they are by definition “safer at home.”  People seem to let their guard down at home (they don’t wash their hands enough and touch their face too much), and they visit, so they are not always safer.  Maybe it should say – “Be Safe at Home!” 

Watch out for the words; the truth is usually in the middle! Preach it: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t visit and stay away from coughers – and if you are coughing, please isolate and wear a mask.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 6:00 p.m. May 1, 2020

ZERO (0) COVID-19 positive test results today and will be a “low-dose-COVID-day” all the way around: instead, let’s focus on the “A” in Leapfrog, that is the headline of the day! 

Patient safety has never been more important than now so I was am especially excited to share the thrilling news with the world this morning about the “A” in Patient Safety our team earned at BOTH hospitals.  If you missed it you can check out the official announcement on our Facebook Live post: here. 

The Leapfrog Group ‘A’ grade is a national recognition that sets us apart from other hospitals, and to me it is the embodiment and culmination of all of your hard work focused around our Mission: to Improve Health and Saves Lives, supported by Core Values like “Quality is in Our DNA.”

IT REALLY IS. THANK YOU. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 30, 2020

Six (6) positive COVID-19 test results today (all outpatient) bringing total positives to date to 218.

Be not discouraged by the small spike today, Singing River Health System has performed almost 2,700 tests to date, and sometimes positives are a product of higher per capita testing. Remember Core Value #2 – Quality is in our DNA!

Today on Facebook Live we featured two of our very wonderfully talented surgeons, Dr. Simpler and Dr. Avara, as we began performing elective surgeries again at our hospitals this week. Click here to watch: Facebook Live with Surgeons


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 29, 2020

Only one (1) new positive again today, bringing the total to date to 212. 

Many people have asked why Jackson County has one of the higher numbers of cases in the State. We believe it is likely a combination of many factors, including but not limited to: higher per capita testing (better testing capability, tested more than other areas that may have more positives and just not be aware), the demographic industrial working-class composition of our county, denser per capita households in some hot spots, the initial outbreak traced to unfortunate random travel history to endemic areas by family members, some cases in a local long term care facility, etc. 

In addition, there are many examples where we have traced cases to close-knit friends and families acting as caretakers or visitors in homes before the Coronavirus awareness was prevalent and therefore before current social or physical distancing measures were in place. 

The good news is that in spite of these factors that tie largely to the initial phases of the outbreak, thanks to a huge commitment by the hospital together with community leaders, churches and schools to spread awareness, we avoided the expected peak at 4/23 (some models even show that today was to be our expected peak!). According to our Finance Team’s analysis, by smashing the curve with community outreach, we may have avoided more than 300 additional new cases.

See graph below (also included below are other updated graphs from Finance).  

Wednesday’s Facebook Live Facts vs. Fears: Corona Misnomers Edition

Keep on keeping on! #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 28, 2020

Only one (1) more positive result reported back to our lab today, bringing total COVID-19 positives to date to 211.   

Today on Facebook Live we got to speak with the heroes of Patient Access aka Registration – to see it click here: “Facebook Live with Patient Access Department.” 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 27, 2020

Four (4) more positive today, bringing total to date to 210 positives out of 2,399 tests to date. 

In any disaster, there are always things with hindsight that could have been handled better. But overall we are proud of how our system, our county and cities, and even our country has reacted to this disaster. 

I will give you a statistic today to share when you hear people in the media complain about how we have come up short in America. 

There have been 2,934,141 cases worldwide, with 205,142 deaths (7%). There have been 943,865 cases in the US, with 54,480 deaths (5.8%). 

We have had 210 cases, and 8 deaths (3.8%). If the worldwide death rate were applied to the United States, 66,070 people would have died, instead of 54,480, or 11,590 or 21% more deaths (locally it would have been 7 more deaths, applying the worldwide rate).    

This stat and more covered in our Facebook Live update from this afternoon.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 26, 2020

Zero positive COVID test results Sunday.

We had the lowest amount of tests yesterday that I can remember, but, still a great sign nonetheless. We are not at the end yet, but this is a sign that we are going to win this war.

We sing praises to every member on our team for thier service.

Check out this video on Facebook here: PraiseYouonFacebook or watch on YouTube below.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:30 p.m. April 25, 2020

Only one (1) positive COVID-19 test resulted on Saturday. Today was a good day.

Our Critical Care Team put their money together to provide a special thank you meal for their Environmental Services counterparts, to show how much they appreciate the men and women working alongside them every day and especially during our fight against COVID-19. This is what our Core Values are all about: Watch here.





Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 24, 2020

Only four (4) COVID-positive results were received in the last 24 hours. We currently are treating twenty-four (24) COVID-positive patients inside the hospital. 

While there is good news and bad news today, in the good news column we were, fortunately, able to discharge someone over the age of 100 that is beating COVID. Also, we have been able to effectively manage several critically ill COVID patients through the ICU process with success, and, notably seen the victories of being able to successfully remove someone from a ventilator who is now doing much better. 

Whether it is teamwork in the ICU or teamwork on the other floors, as noted in today’s Facebook Live featuring our Nursing and Environmental Services teams working hand in hand, all of our teams know how to display a pinnacle of one of our Singing River Core Values: Teamwork

Thank you and Singing Praises to our critical care doctors and nurses in our ICU, our death rate per COVID-positive patient is less than in other parts of the nation and state in spite of more comorbidities in our local population. 

However, by the time this war ends, I am afraid we will all know someone or have a connection to someone who has personally been adversely impacted by this insidious virus. 

Unfortunately, I have now come to know that new level of reality, as we had a COVID-19 virus-related death of someone that I and several others who work here know and were close to. While we will win the war ultimately, this virus is so unfairly sinister and discriminates in so many ways: it viciously and disproportionately attacks those who are vulnerable due to a suppressed immune system or comorbidities, minorities, and even affects those in the 60-79 age range sometimes worse than those in the 80+ range.

We will keep fighting, together, to beat the odds as a team.  I have always been honored to work with this team we have, but when it hits home like this, it underscores the depth of our true Singing River Health System family union. 

The amount of respect I have for those who give their all in our ICU and everywhere within our facilities every day for those we serve is absolutely beyond measure.

Stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions, and fearless in your spirit.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 23, 2020

Three (3) new positives today. 2,201 tests to date, 201 total positives.

Don’t Stop Believin’ – we also were able to discharge two (2) COVID-19 positive inpatients home this morning and our Emergency Departments are operating FastER, SafER and STRONGER as ever.

Check out Dr. Justice and our ER team on Facebook Live today: “ER is here to help!”


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 22, 2020

Only one (1) COVID-positive result was received today. We are happy with this number but will not lose our focus, the battle may be downhill, but the war is not over. 

Today on Facebook Live we spoke with the Chief of our Campus Police, Randy Sanders about some community outreach efforts (also featuring everyone’s favorite team member and K-9 Officer, Jester) and our collaborative conference call with local law enforcement to discuss our thoughts and plans for the eventual “reopening”.  

Click here to see today’s:  Facebook Live with Campus Police.  

Based on the state health department’s data: 1,715 individuals between ages 40-59 have tested positive for COVID-19, whereas 1,205 ages 60-79 have tested positive (42% more positive in the 40-59 age range than the older group). However, in the ages 40-59 data set: 17 people lost their fight due to COVID-19 complications whereas 106 people in Mississippi between ages 60-79 have (COVID has been 520% more deadly to those 60-79). 

We again emphasize that while total cases have subsided, middle-aged people do often get it, and, those over 60 are the ones that more often die from this virus. We can also tell from state data that follows our local pattern as well, about 1/3 of positive cases require hospitalization, and ½ of those require a vent.

Statewide, the most common underlying conditions in deaths are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity. And lastly, someone asked about how many of our cases are active: we have no way to know precisely for sure but given the 198 cases we have specific knowledge of, we believe based upon the curves in the graphs, the position in the progression of those persons in the disease process, combined with using national data estimates for the unknown but imputed “related” cases that may not be recorded or reported, we would estimate that there are likely between 250 to 350 active cases in our County. 

This is why we must continue to be vigilant in our message to self-isolate if you have symptoms. There is nothing more important in stopping the spread than forthose sick with this virus (if they do not need to be hospitalized) to quarantine at home alone in accordance with Miss State Code 41-23-5 (excerpts below). The more people that do that, the quicker we can get back to normal. 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Miss. Code 41-23-5: The State Department of Health shall have the authority to investigate and control the causes of an epidemic, infectious disease or other illnesses affecting public health, including the authority to establish, maintain and enforce isolation and quarantine, and in pursuance thereof, to exercise such physical control over property and individuals as the department may find necessary for the protection of the public health. The State Department of Health is further authorized and empowered to require the temporary detainment of individuals for disease control purposes based upon the violation of any order of the State Health Officer. For the purpose of enforcing such orders of the State Health Officer, persons employed by the department as investigators shall have general arrest powers. All law enforcement officers are authorized and directed to assist in the enforcement of such orders of the State Health Officer. 

updated 7:00 p.m. April 21, 2020

Nine (9) COVID-positive results were received today, all of them outpatient (none of those had to be hospitalized). The rolling average is still trending downward, and we continue to stay focused until we see more of a run rate indicating a longer-term trend.

We have been successfully able to discharge a few more COVID-positive patients from the hospital (we had reason to play Don’t Stop Believin’ again on the overhead today) to continue their recovery at home

Thirty-one (31) people so far have recovered and been able to go home through an inpatient stay since inception, and eighteen (18) currently remain in the hospital. Only three (3) of those are in the ICU, the rest have been able to stay in isolation on a regular bed floor. 

Today on Facebook Live we spoke with a couple of members of the Respiratory Therapy team. They are sometimes unsung heroes of the healthcare world, but in times like these, their importance is punctuated! They are swift, gifted clinicians who help ensure we can breathe!

Click here to see them: Facebook Live with Respiratory Therapy


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 20, 2020

We had ZERO positive COVID -19 test results today. Through the latter part of last week, our rolling three-day average was 8 positives per day. Today (Monday) will bring that trend down more, and we hope it continues. 

How fitting at the start of this National Lab Week we have our first “zero positive COVID tests” day! So many departments have contributed to fighting this war, and every single one is important, but this week we take an ‘extra’ moment to focus on and recognize the lab heroes who have helped us produce some of the most accurate and fastest COVID-19 testing in the country.

The Singing River Lab Team is working tirelessly and tenaciously to recieve results back as quickly as possible. I have seen our Lab Director, Virginia Moseley, here every single day since March 9th, and the entire lab team is right there with her every step of the way. Give them an extra air hug or air fist bump (stay at least a meter away) when you see them this week!

Today we spoke with them about a few momentual things going on in their world: “Facebook Live with Lab”.

#StaySingingRiverStrong keep up the good work, and as Vince from EVS says – we will “absolutely positively” prevail.  

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 19, 2020

Only one (1) new positive today, that is very good news as we continue the battle for nineteen (19) others currently experiencing inpatient care. Six (6) are in the ICU and thirteen (13) are on the Med/Surg COVID-19 floor. Seven (7) new inpatients are awaiting results.

1844 tests have been performed to date, with total positives to date at 184. 

Today I thought I would share recent graphs Michelle Chevalier from our Finance Team prepared, it does appear we have “smashed the curve” a little. Keep on keeping on and we will get past this together.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 18, 2020

Singing River Health System had only three (3) positive test results today. We will not let our guard down, but for a brief moment, we will appreciate this good trend. 

Singing River Health System looks forward to reestablishing our economy together, yet we strongly support the current state order to shelter-in-place for another seven (7) days. 

Singing River Health System’s perspective is that the economic implications of a protracted shutdown could also lead to adverse long-term medical consequences. We want every entity to return to normal operations as much as anyone.

However, we have to balance that notion with the ability to prevent the long-term spread of the virus.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Tentative: Singing River Guidelines to Reopening

See below for a few notes on the possible conditions for re-opening our facilities in relation to the attached Federal Plan:

  1. Rapid Testing
  2. Maintain Current Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  3. Isolation of COVID-19 Positives
  4. Education of COVID-19 Positives
  5. Social Gathering Responsibility
  6. Positive Employer Screenings – any employer that has employees who have tested positive will be asked to implement a screening process for all employees. The employee who is positive will not be identified to the employer; the employer will just be generically notified that they need to do a screening.

updated 7:00 p.m. April 17, 2020

Fortunately, there were only two (2) positive results reported back to our lab today, bringing total COVID-19 positives to date to 180. We are now 40 days into this pandemic since our first test submission.

Today was overall one of the better days we have had in a while, statistically speaking. 

Watch our Q&A with the fascinating Dr. Ekenna about COVID-19, to see it click here: “Facebook Live with Dr Ekenna.” 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 16, 2020

Six (6) more positive results were reported back to our lab today, bringing total COVID-19 positives to date to 178.  1,758 tests have been performed to date. Of the 178 COVID-positive patients, 161 are recovering at home in the outpatient world, ten (10) remain currently hospitalized, and seven (7) souls have lost the battle. Right now, we are keeping an eye to our East, it appears Mobile County is growing in the number of cases, something to be aware of.  

You might hear the song Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey on the overhead hospital speaker system every now and then. In keeping with the “Singing” in our brand, every time we have a COVID-19 patient be able to go home, we will play a short piece of that song. I hope to hear it ten more times in the coming days.

Today we had a Q&A with Dr. Roth about fighting the COVID-19 disease process, to see it click here: “Facebook Live.” 


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. April 15, 2020

Only four (4) more positive results were reported back to our lab today, bringing total COVID-19 positives to 172 out of 1,688 tests performed to date. 

Unfortunately, today was one of those toughest of days because as the battle against this sinister virus continues, an elderly person with multiple serious co-morbidities lost their fight in spite of our valiant efforts to pull off an extreme miracle. 

We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of this individual. This virus is particularly malicious for a small percentage of patients like this. We beg everyone to ensure older loved ones with any underlying medical conditions do not come into contact with visitors until this virus has been contained. 

Today we had an extremely informative and interesting conversation with Dr. Babar about COVID-19, to see it click here: “Facebook Live.” 

Remain focused and most importantly – #StaySingingRiverStrong!

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. April 14, 2020

Eight (8) more positive results reported back to our lab today, bringing total positives to 168 with more than 1,500 COVID-19 tests performed to date. 

On Facebook Live today, our Facilities Team put together a great demonstration to “ignite” how the power of social distancing works, while Jason Ely who leads our Medical Clinics reemphasized our “Stop the Spread, Call Ahead” campaign and how ALL of our clinics are drive-up testing locations when needed, not just once in a while like the others. 

In addition, visit this link for more valuable information on Social Distancing ​located on our website. 

updated 9:00 p.m. April 13, 2020

Six more positive results were reported back to our lab Monday, bringing total positives to date to 160. The testing lab caught up today and is back to a relatively quick turnaround, so we feel decent about the current run rate, knowing however we could still see a wave soon. Singing River will stay focused and plan for the worst but work toward the best possible outcome. 

We continue to “drive home” our message of “stop the visitors!” in the community. Today Melissa Schnoor with Community Relations, explained to the local funeral home directors and churches about a recent study in Chicago that traced transmission to hugs, handshakes, and sharing of common serving plates at a funeral – all surface contact to mouth transmissions. We cannot emphasize enough that this virus appears to be spread by actual contact.

We have received many questions from the public about the 180° change last week by the Surgeon General telling people to go ahead and wear masks in public. Generally, masks should be reserved for medical professionals with direct patient contact. If everyone who has a cough or sneeze were to self-isolate, there would be no need for anyone who is not caring for patients to wear a mask. This is the most important simple rule from our Infectious Disease Specialist, Okechukwu Ekenna, MD:

Anyone coughing or sneezing should be required to wear a mask, essentially, limiting their chances of transmitting the infection to others.

Okechukwu Ekenna, MD – Singing River Infectious Disease Specialist

We also spoke to Dr. Ekenna about recent theorization of airborne transmission. The press is misquoting an article from the NEJM that if not read carefully could lead someone to believe the Coronavirus is “commonly airborne.” It does NOT say that. It says that in one small experiment using a three-jet Collision nebulizer in a drum (a condition that does not exist in normal day to day human interactions) with fomites, an aerosolized environment transmission in those conditions is plausible because in that environment (e.g., tracheostomy, bronchoscopy, nebulization, or prone positioning of a patient, vent disconnecting, CPR, etc.) the virus remains viable in a reduced factor for up to 3 hours (with exponential decay). This does not include “passing people in the hallway.”  

Furthermore, the World Health Organization performed a study that looked at a sample of 75,465 cases and did not find airborne transmission in any of them. If you have to wear a mask because you are around someone who might be coughing, be extraordinarily careful removing or adjusting the mask because if you are coughed upon or touch a surface someone has coughed on, and then touch your face (including the mask), the mask actually increases your risk of transmission due to the face touching. 

If you hear a person cough or sneeze, recommend to them that they go home and immediately wear a mask. Also, recommend that they avoid getting within about six feet (or one meter) of others and avoid touching any surfaces. Perhaps the Surgeon General should have said: “a coughing person must stay home; but since many coughers cannot abide by that, they should wear a mask!” 

Here is the Facebook Live link for today where Tiffany Murdock, Executive Director of Surgical Services for Singing River Health System shares facts, not fears, on when and how to properly wear a face “mask”.

#StayCalm #StayInformed #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 9:00 p.m. April 12, 2020

10 more positives results were reported back to our lab today, bringing total positives to date to 154.

We put together an interview with “Captain Gary.”  A Detroit native, he was traveling through our area to visit friends in Ocean Springs after visiting New Orleans for a couple of weeks, where it is suspected he picked up the Coronavirus. He is 70 years old and had some of the comorbidities that make it tougher to survive this horrific virus, BUT our amazing team of doctors and nurses pulled him through it successfully!  

He loved everyone here he encountered. He saw our Mission to improve health and save lives every day that he was here, and will be a friend to our health system family forever. It was a joy to meet him and hear him talk about seeing our core values in action from the time he arrived until the time he left. He said the nursing team treated him like a “guest in our home,” saw the quality of our clinical team (you know I told him it is in our DNA!), witnessed caring communication and felt our heart and soul of service!  Check it out on Facebook or copy or click this link to see and share it: “Captain Gary’s Amazing Story!” 

Hope you all have had a Happy Easter, #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Hope you all have had a Happy Easter,

updated 7:00 p.m. April 11, 2020

more positives results were reported back to our lab today, bringing total positives to date to 144.  Click here to see today’s 5:30 message on Facebook: Symphony of Care

updated 7:00 p.m. April 10, 2020

Coronavirus Update

Masks won’t save you at home, AVOIDING VISITORS WILL. Isolate as an act of service.

Nine (9) more positives results were reported back to our lab today, bringing total positives to date to 137. The lab we send COVID-19 samples to has caught up significantly, thankfully, but due to increased testing, we have more than 100 still outstanding, mostly outpatient. We believe testing will get faster and faster over time. 

Singing River Health System has collected 1,379 samples to date. We have fortunately had some COVID-positives discharged but some new ones have come in, yielding present status of 13 current COVID-positives hospitalized at the moment, and 8 COVID-pending that have been hospitalized, tested and await results.

Click here to see: April 10th’s Facebook Live update with a few comments on masks, quarantine and how to be safe during Easter weekend.

We are not asking the community to isolate out of fear, but rather simply as an act of service.  We can make a difference if we do it, saving lives AND getting our economy back on the road sooner.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

If not working on Easter, we highly recommend that you STAY HOME WITH NO VISITORS this year. If someone doesn’t live in your house, do not have them over, and do not go to a house you do not live in. Our recent admissions show the most likely place you are to contract it from is a visitor in your home.  Learn to use video apps to connect with loved ones. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure many more future gatherings with family when we get the world back to normal.

updated 8:00 p.m. April 9, 2020

Today was a tough one. Twelve (12) more positives were received, bringing total positives to 128. We had one new admission and one discharge, keeping our total positive inpatients at twelve (12). 

Justinn Smathers, RN joined us today to share a little bit of insight on what it is like behind our ICU doors. He got us a little choked up, but it shows the reality of this malicious virus and most importantly the passion of the heroes who do what they do. Click here to see him on: Facebook Live

To all of those like him working on the COVID units: YOU ARE the epitome of SINGING RIVER STRONG!!

As Justinn says, keep it up – we WILL get through this, TOGETHER.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 8, 2020

Singing River Health System has performed 1246 COVID-19 tests to date. Six (6) more positives were received in the last 24 hours, bringing total positives to 116. Within the system, thirteen (13) individuals remain hospitalized that are confirmed positive and await test results on twelve (12) others who are in our care staying with us.

Above is an Easter at-home activities idea flyer to help you celebrate while staying safe this holy weekend. If not working on Easter, we highly recommend that you STAY HOME WITH NO VISITORS this year. If someone doesn’t live under your roof, do not have them over, and do not go to a house you do not live in! 

Our recent admissions show the most likely place you are to contract COVID-19 is from a visitor to your home, including family. Learn to use FaceTime or another video app on your phone, computer or tablet to connect with external family members who insist on visiting for the next few days, instead of in-person. This WILL STOP THE SPREAD of COVID-19 and most importantly help ensure many more future gatherings with family when we get the world back to normal.

Click here to see our first attempt at: “Facebook Live.” We will try (when feasible) to connect with you all around 5:30 pm through Facebook Live over the next few weeks to keep you updated even further on the latest from within the system during our fight against COVID-19.

I continue to be uplifted and thankful for the strength of everyone on our team, all of you, together.  It is particularly tough right now for the hearts and souls of those working on the COVID “Hot” units, and those supporting and assisting them. In some way, all 2,600 people here, every single one of YOU, do something directly or indirectly to allow this entity to operate and provide the ultimate service that we provide to those in our community who need us now, more than ever. 

THANK YOU for that.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. April 7, 2020

1129 tests have been performed to date. Six (6) more positives were received in the last 24 hours, bringing total positives to 110. Of the six (6) new positives, three (3) required hospitalization and three (3) were able to remain outpatient.   

THANK YOU to all of our team members for all you are doing. As I think you all know by now, this could become more challenging for a little while. Stay strong, we will absolutely positively prevail.

One of our MANY strong Doctors sat down with WLOX earlier in the week – check out Dr. Watkins interview on COVID-19 on by clicking: Watkins or here.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Please continue to share, text, call, post or get this message to people any way you can (share it on Facebook):

updated 7:00 p.m. April 6, 2020

1047 tests have been performed to date. Ten (10) more positives were received in the last 24 hours (that is 22 positives in 48 hours) bringing total positives to 104. Thankfully only one (1) of today’s ten (10) was inpatient.


If the ratios remain the same, we should expect at least 20+ more positives in the community in the next day or two based on tests currently pending. 

I cannot say it enough: it still appears from the cases coming in that people are mostly spreading it to older vulnerable family not at their jobs but rather when visiting family. We have to get people to stop “visiting.”  

Please share, text, call, post or get this message to people any way you can. Thank you!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 2:00 p.m. April 5, 2020

1019 tests have been performed to date. Twelve (12) more positives were received in the last 24 hours, bringing total positives to ninety-four (94). Fortunately, only one (1) of those had to be admitted to the hospital.

We have been able to discharge some younger healthy hospitalized patients to finish their recovery at home, and were even able to discharge a gentleman who was over 70 with two comorbidities (chronic conditions) that made this more difficult for him. He has made a full recovery and is doing exceptionally well. On the other hand, unfortunately, two patients with serious comorbidities lost their bout with this deadly virus in the last 24 hours. 

Since it still appears that people are mostly spreading it to older vulnerable family members not at their jobs but rather when visiting family, we are adding to our community messaging: “SAVE YOUR FAMILY! STOP ALL THE VISITORS!” 

The media talks about “flattening the curve” meaning push more of the cases out to later, but the goal should be to “bust the curve” or reduce the total number of ultimate cases that will occur overall period, not just push them out. We believe that the best way to do that is by stopping it in its tracks when a family gets it, keeping them from spreading it to others (stop the family visiting!). Due to there not being enough State resources to do that, we have enlisted help from some of our own team members, local police and fire departments, and various city leaders to educate households more about how it spreads – from things like visiting, not washing hands, touching your face, and touching each other.

Our “Bust the Curve” efforts include:

  • If you’ve checked your mail recently, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors had a postcard designed by our Marketing Team sent to every single household in Jackson County. 
  • Earl Etheridge the county’s Public Safety Director also coordinated an automated phone call that contains our same message to go out to all registered phone numbers in Jackson County.
  • We have instructed the school districts to do the same thing using their notification system to families. 
  • We will continue to plan for the worst yet try to “bust the curve” in our efforts to achieve the best.

We thought you might find of interest this update from the Singing River Finance Team below. Data from the graphs below show that:

  • 10.8% of the COVID-19 tests resulted are positive.
  • Those we’ve tested account for just under 1% of the Jackson County population.
  • Peak hospital utilization is projected for April 21st in Mississippi, compared to April 15 for the country; if we “bust the curve” that could be sooner, but if we do not, it could go much longer.

updated 8:00 p.m. April 4, 2020

We have no new positives today but that is mainly a function of not many results back today (we only got a few negatives back), because the lab ran into a processing challenge when doing some maintenance and ramping up production back up, so their results have (hopefully temporarily) slowed. 

They have purported that they will be faster than ever by Monday. As it is calm in the eye of a hurricane, to be safe, we should brace for the eyewall to hit us soon. 

Of note, the LAST 5 positives contracted it from a family member, most of whom DID NOT LIVE with them but were visiting. Don’t social distance out of fear – do it as an act of SERVICE. Now is not the time for physical visiting of family who lives in a different household.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. April 3, 2020

925 tests to date.  new positives resulted from the lab today, leading to 82 cumulative total positives as of this moment. 14 are currently hospitalized. The majority who are hospitalized at this point contracted it from their neighbor, friend or family member, not a coworker or traveler.  

Special thanks to all of the churches who took the time to surround both hospitals with an outpouring of love for our heroes, the fearless warriors on the front lines; click here to seeSinging River Strong: Park and Pray 

For the rest of the world outside of us here, it is a weekend day tomorrow. I hope people will not become unfocused and visit family, friends, and neighbors – and let their guard down when not at work.  An ounce of self-restraint today could save a life next week.  We are not asking people to restrain and isolate themselves out of fear: it is out of service, and out of respect for the deadliness of this virus to our vulnerable populationSpread the word, not the virus. Tell your friends and family to stay at home alone if they are not working. 

(If you missed yesterday’s update check out this great montage Sarah put together highlighting a couple of you in the trenches along with some social media love we have received during our ongoing fight to win this war: SingingRiverStrongPraiseYouVideo


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. April 2, 2020

Check out this montage highlighting a couple of our team members in the trenches along with some social media love we have received during our ongoing fight to win this war.

Testing update as of Thursday, April 2nd: 875 tests to date. new positives resulted from the lab today, leading to 76 cumulative total positives as of this moment. 14 are currently hospitalized.

The majority who are hospitalized at this point contracted it from their neighbor, friend or family member, not a coworker. Reminder to spread our Virus Alert that friends and families are spreading it to each other at their homes during small family and neighborhood gatherings. If not working, stay home ALONE, NOT WITH MULTIPLE FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS.

updated 8:00 p.m. April 1, 2020

779 tests to date. 15 new positives resulted from the lab in the last 36 hours, leading to 73 cumulative total positives as of this moment. 14 are currently hospitalized.

While only having 3 of the 15 new positives added to the ‘hospitalized’ category (2 of the 3 were already in the hospital pending the results and were expected to be positives), having 12 new positive outpatients in our community is concerning. We continue to see a recently developed trend of mostly clustering from friends and relatives who are positive. 

Fortunately, the system has discharged 10 patients cumulatively to date that were originally hospitalized with COVID-19 to continue their mend at home. It appears in our area that about 9.7% of all people tested end up positive, and about 2.5% of all people tested end up hospitalized.


As the battle against this vicious virus continues, an elderly person in their 90s with multiple comorbidities lost their fight with the virus today. We extended our deepest sympathies to the family of this individual. 

This virus is extremely malicious for a small percentage of patients like this. We again beg everyone in contact with older relatives with underlying medical conditions to please urge them not to come into contact with others, including and primarily family members, until this virus has been contained.

I again continue to ask you to please share the below graphic through text, email and social media, because we are seeing a continuing increase that generally appears, from the new cases in recent days, people are contracting COVID-19 from friends and family, not co-workers or travelers.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 31, 2020

As of end of day Monday, Singing River Health System has run 723 tests for COVID-19. Resulting in fifty-eight (58) positives, thirteen (13) of which remain hospitalized.

Again, we ask everyone to please share the graphic below on their social media pages, as we are continuing to see an increase of new cases with people contracting COVID-19 from friends and family, not co-workers or travelers

Perhaps people in the community keep their guard up while traveling out of their homes or working, yet when hanging out with loved ones they are more likely to touch their faces, not wash their hands as often, and touch objects or surfaces their friends and family (who are carrying virus particles) are also touching. 

Friends and families are spreading it to each other, and do not realize it.


In Jackson County, it is now more common for people to spread COVID-19 to others they know in their own homes or at any size gathering.

I am not focused on using the term “social distancing,” because people do not realize it is not “society in general” spreading the virus right now, but everyone we come in contact with regularly. Please watch the video below to understand the exponential growth of COVID-19 and what our community needs to avoid before we can reach the tipping point of this outbreak.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 30, 2020

First of all, today is DOCTORS’ DAY. 

It feels a bit like having heroes’ day in the middle of a war, but we are grateful for heroes born for challenges like this. Here is a little tribute to them Sarah Duffey put together highlighting the work they have put forth during recent events. (share these links) Facebook: #SingingRiverStrongDoctorsDay YouTube: #SingingRiverStrongDoctorsDay

We appreciate the business community for supporting our doctors and our entire nursing, clinical and support staff during this time. It does not go unnoticed that businesses are suffering right now as well. We are all in this together.

As far as the status of our war against Coronavirus, 625 COVID-19 tests have been performed to date, resulting in 54 positive cases since this malicious virus made its way into our region.  In the last 24 hours, we had thirteen (13) new positives; of those, twelve (12) are outpatient and only one (1) was inpatient/hospitalized. 

While it is good news on one hand that most of those were outpatient, we do not like to see the numbers grow at all, and proportionately we expect some inpatients admitted today to come back positive. It is critical that we get our community to understand the need to avoid unnecessary physical contact.

As always, check our Website and Facebook page for daily updates. Below is a message we would like to spread like a virus.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Please copy or save this graphic to share with your friends and family:

updated 8:00 p.m. March 29, 2020

598 tests have been performed to date, and 41 since inception have been returned as positive. 

In the last 24 hours, we had four (4) new positives: one (1) probable inpatient confirmed positive and three (3) outpatient positives, which are included in that 41 total cumulative to date. Several positive inpatients were discharged and able to go home yesterday, and nine (9) remain inpatient at the moment. 

Check out our new resources page on our website by clicking: “Resources.”

We are seeing some areas of our community where the virus is more concentrated due to lack of social distancing, so the simple message we are sharing today is this (feel free to copy/paste the highlighted points into a text): 


COVID-19 is in Jackson County.
Your friend could have it.
Stay 6’ away, even from family.
Stay home ALONE.
Wash your hands with soap hourly and every time
you touch a surface someone else might have touched.
Don’t be a COVID death.
Copy/text 10 friends, to save 1 life.
Spread the word not the virus.

updated 5:00 p.m. March 28, 2020

Thursday was a slower day for testing with 61 tests but Friday we had our highest number of tests performed yet, at 92, bringing total system tests to 569. We had four (4) total positives in the last 24 hours, which is markedly less than we did in the prior 24 hour period. Of the four (4), two (2) were outpatient and two (2) were inpatients that were both completely expected to be positive.

While it is relatively good news that today’s positives were about a third of the positives from the day before even with more people tested, and hotline calls decreasing, we must be very careful to not be lulled into a sense that this has subsided: it has probably not yet.

There are likely people in our community who have it and are unaware. We need to re-emphasize constantly to people that they need to wash their hands and not touch their face.

Interestingly, social distancing per se would not be such an issue if people could avoid close contact, i.e., avoid: face touching, shaking hands, forgetting to wash hands, touching objects like doorknobs and counters after touching their mouth, etc. Social distancing is the only way to get most folks to do that, unfortunately.

Keep preaching it to everyone to use common sense and keep their hands sanitary and away from their face!


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Below are two documents which you can share with friends and family:

  • A Coronavirus Alert that we recommend you send to your churches, civic organizations or anyone else.
  • CDC guidelines on what to do if you have Coronavirus (COVID-19).

updated 5:00 p.m. March 27, 2020

Across Singing River Health System, 477 COVID-19 tests have been run from the beginning of this outbreak through end-of-day yesterday (Thursday).

Sixty-two (62) tests were submitted Thursday, a 23% decrease from the day before. Unfortunately, we had eleven (11) new positives result in today (Friday) bringing the total to thirty-six (36).

The good news is only two (2) of those were inpatients, both expected. Also in the good news category, several inpatients that are positive are being discharged home today with rigorous self-isolation instructions. 

On the opposite front, as the battle against this vicious virus continues, an elderly person with multiple serious co-morbidities lost their fight with the virus in spite of our valiant efforts to pull off a miracle. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of this individual. 

This virus is extremely malicious for a small percentage of patients like this. We beg everyone in contact with those who are older and with underlying medical conditions to please do not come into contact with others until this virus has been contained.   

As we shared this morning, our system received notification that a physician tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home from a trip out of state. They are still doing well at home. The system continues to take the proper measures and all who had high potential exposure contact with the physician since returning are being screened and tested as appropriate. 

Today was a little tougher than the day before. However, we knew days like this would come, and have been prepared. We will press on with grit and resolve. Please continue to stay calm and pull each other up while our team continues to provide THE BEST care on the GULF COAST to our community that we love. 

Check out these tips and resources to help you manage during these times: Stay Calm (click the link). 

THANK YOU for all you are doing. This will become more challenging for a little while. Stay strong, we will absolutely positively prevail.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 7:00 p.m. March 26, 2020

Singing River Health System has tested 418 individuals for COVID-19 from the beginning of this outbreak through the end-of-day yesterday (Wednesday).

Our providers have taken more than 4,000 calls on the Singing River Coronavirus Hotline since we started tracking the calls, generating a record 81 COVID-19 tests submitted to our lab yesterday.

Today (Thursday) is the first day this week that both calls to the hotline and tests ordered appear to be declining.  

We only received one more positive today, which was through an outpatient clinic, making our total 25 positive.      

Please remember to practice social distancing (6 feet), wash your hands, do not touch your face, and FaceTime your older loved ones.

THANK YOU for all you are doing! #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 25, 2020

Across Singing River Health System, 339 COVID-19 tests have been run from the beginning of this outbreak through mid-day today (Wednesday). A record 70 tests were done on Tuesday. Out of the 339 tested – 304 have resulted in 266 negative and 24 positive for COVID-19.

Fourteen (14) of the positives have been outpatients through one of our “Stop the Spread, Call Ahead” drive-thru clinic operations, and ten (10) have been admitted as inpatients. Of the ten (10) that have been hospitalized since inception, seven (7) remain under isolated inpatient care, and two (2) have already been discharged recovering well, and one (1) was discharged today.     

A Message To Our Team

THANK YOU for fearlessly rising to the challenge in this, the biggest pandemic in over 100 years. Never has our core value of Serving with Heart and Soul been more important. Some people will go their whole life wondering if they made a difference. You will not. You have already saved several people in our Clinics, ERs, Med/Surg units and ICUs from this virus that has declared war on mankind. You were trained for a war like this, and you will win it.


Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 24, 2020

Since the beginning of this outbreak until the end of yesterday, Singing River Health System has run 270 COVID-19 tests. The results we received today produced four (4) more positive cases (two inpatients that were expected, and two outpatients who remain self-isolated at home), making our total seventeen (17) positives to date.

Of the seven (7) that have been hospitalized, five (5) remain under isolated inpatient care, and two (2) have been discharged recovering well and isolated at home.

Singing River has been asked about the differences in our report totals versus the numbers Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports.  We are reporting that we have handled 17 cases, but they are only reporting 10 for Jackson County. 

We believe there are two reasons they differ: MSDH may not be always up-to-date on what it reports and also reports based on the positive person‘s place of residence. Several of our positives were people who live in areas outside the county lines.  

We want to give a shout-out to American Esoteric Labs (AEL): we stopped using the MSDH a few days into this outbreak because they were too slow. That was a great move by our Lab Director, Virginia, and the lab team because it seems other hospitals are having many troubles getting results back from MSDH as fast and accurately as we are from AEL. 

We ask if you are on Facebook to please encourage your friends and family to change their profile picture to include the “Stop the Spread, Call Ahead“ photo frame by clicking here or:

  • Go to your personal profile page on Facebook.
  • Click on your profile picture.
  • Find the edit popup window from the bottom of the picture. Click add frame.
  • Search for ‘Singing River Stop the Spread’ and select.
  • Click Save in the upper right-hand corner once you have selected the correct one.

Stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions and fearless in your spirit.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 23, 2020

Singing River Health System has run a total of 220 tests for COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 22nd – results from 100% of all tests collected more than 48 hours ago have been received. Out of the 179 results received, which includes some tests from the last day and a half, 166 (93%) were negative and 13 were positive. 

Eight (8) of the positives were identified through our “Stop the Spread, Call Ahead” process at our medical clinics with those patients all recovering well at home. Of the five (5) that were hospitalized, three (3) remain under isolated inpatient care, and two (2) have been discharged already and are recovering well, isolated at home. 

Another 45 tests were run today, which is less than the peak of 65 ran on Friday. If this is a trend (fewer people with symptoms meeting testing criteria), that would be great, but only time will tell.

Stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions and fearless in your spirit

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

Remember, tell your friends and family to not drive anywhere if they are having symptoms, but instead, first call the hotline at 228-809-5044. Share our Website or Facebook page, those sites have everything anyone needs to know about this virus and what to do. 

updated 8:00 p.m. March 22, 2020

In the last 48 hours, we had a huge number of new tests run: 96 more tests in just two days, to be exact. Today’s test volume, however, is way down. Hopefully, that implies that anyone with possible symptoms rushed Friday and Saturday to call the hotline, got screened, and the provider made the decision for them to be tested. 

That brings our grand total to 195 tests performed to date, so far 145 have resulted: 134 negatives, 4 positives that remain inpatient, and 7 positive outpatients who are at home in self-isolation and doing well. 

Remember, tell your friends and family to not drive anywhere if they are having symptoms, but instead, CALL the hotline at 228-809-5044 FIRST. Share our Website or Facebook page, those sites have everything anyone needs to know about this virus and what to do. 

Stay strong in your mind, smart in your actions and fearless in your spirit#StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 21, 2020

Amazingly with a lot of test results coming in during the last 24 hours, there are no additional COVID-19 positive tests to report today. We do, however, realize we are certainly going to have more positive test results as time marches on and this virus makes its way across our Gulf Coast. 

Out of the 98 collected and submitted since 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 18th – 81 have resulted. 75 negative and 6 positive. To recap those 6 positives: 3 remain inpatient in isolation, 1 was discharged Friday and is doing well at home, and 2 outpatient clinic positives are both isolated at home and doing very well.

Singing River Health System remains braced, strong, steady and ready for the likelihood of more. Please also remember during these times that everyone does not deal with each challenge the same way.


While some of us might have no fear and are eternal optimists, another person may not have the same outlook for various legitimate reasons and setbacks coping with the situation. Now is the time for us to find our collective inner strength and help any that are struggling with affairs happening around our nation. We will get through this together as a team. After all, teamwork is a core value of ours, and it will help us defeat this devil of a virus. We WILL win. Stay Singing River Strong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

updated 8:00 p.m. March 19, 2020

As of this moment, we have had six positive tested cases (4 inpatients in isolation with 1 soon to be discharged, and 2 isolated at home). 

Thus far we have performed 70 total tests, received 54 back (48 NEGATIVE), with only 16, almost all outpatient, still pending. We are now receiving lab results back within 24 hours or less in some cases.

Clinically this speed increase is great news because in addition to validating the treatment protocol, the faster we know the faster we can inform everyone who may have had contact and needs to monitor their symptoms.

Thank you to each and every one of our team members for their service and selflessness. So many people are working very hard right now, never has there been a time to be more proud to be part of this team, this strong family, that does what we do, even in the most trying of times. #StaySingingRiverStrong

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

This increased velocity is the best news of the day and we expect it to get faster and faster from here on out. We will continue to share as the situation progresses.

updated 8:00 p.m. March 18, 2020

Singing River Health System remains prepared for the possibility of additional Coronavirus COVID-19 cases. 

We have just learned that a patient transferred from another hospital to Ocean Springs Hospital who required higher-level care available at Singing River Health System, has tested positive for the virus.

Singing River Team Members at all locations have been trained and are prepared to care for patients with serious infections like COVID-19. We are following the evidence-based care protocols and are continuing to take appropriate steps to protect our patients, each other, and the community. 

To continue to update on testing, we performed 11 new tests and received 8 negative test results back from the lab as of 5:00 p.m. today.

We still cannot emphasize enough the importance of the strongest protective measure of washing your hands with soap and water and DO NOT touch your face. Stay Singing River STRONG.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

What To Do If You Suspect You May Be Infected?

Again, we urge anyone who feels ill or is concerned they may have COVID-19 to stay home and continue to call our Hotline at 228-809-5044 to be screened over the phone by a licensed medical provider before visiting any of our facilities. 

Stay Calm. Informed. & Singing River Strong

Please continue to visit our Website or Facebook page for more updates and information to share easily with others.

updated 8:00 p.m. March 17, 2020

We are fortunate that all prior tests had returned negative, but we have now received notice from the testing laboratory of a presumptive positive case of COVID-19. We await formal verification by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Extraordinary precautions are in place to ensure Singing River Health System remains a safe environment to provide critical care for our patients.

Lee Bond, Chief Executive Officer

The presumptive positive COVID-19 case is not an inpatient at either hospital location. The individual was tested at the Singing River Medical Clinic in Ocean Springs, continues to self-quarantine and is doing very well, following the CDC guidelines to avoid chances of transmitting to anyone else, including their own family.  ​

What is Singing River doing to ensure patient safety?

If you are scheduled for tests or procedures in any of our facilities, rest assured that we are following all protocols to ensure a safe environment. Please understand our stringent restricted visitor policy is for the protection of you and our staff.

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated and treated accordingly. Our outstanding medical professionals are following the evidence-based care protocols and continue to take appropriate steps to protect our patients, team members, and community. 

What To Do If You Suspect You May Be Infected?

Again, we urge anyone who feels ill or is concerned they may have COVID-19 to stay home and continue to call our Hotline at 228-809-5044 to be screened over the phone by a licensed medical provider before visiting any of our facilities. 

Stay Calm. Informed. & Singing River Strong

Please continue to visit our Website or Facebook page for more updates and information to share easily with others.

updated 11:00 a.m. March 17, 2020

If you think you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) STAY HOME and call 228-809-5044 FIRST!

All twenty-two (22) of our tests so far have come back NEGATIVE. We hope the remainder continue to come back negative also, but we are prepared in the event we do have a positive test. 

Read the criteria to be tested before you call:

  • Cough PLUS fever more than 101° or shortness of breath AND
  • Age 65+ with a compromised immune system OR
  • Person-to-person contact with a confirmed/suspected case of COVID-19

We will remain transparent and share if we receive a positive case. ALL RESULTS RECEIVED THUS FAR ARE NEGATIVE.

Although Jackson County does have one presumptive positive case confirmed, the individual was not tested at a Singing River Health System facility.

Extraordinary precautions are taken to ensure Singing River Health System remains safe for our patients and staff.

Singing River Health System continues actively monitoring developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the health of our patients, guests, team members, and the community is our paramount focus, a responsibility we take very seriously.

Please visit our Facebook page for more updates and information to share easily with others.

Coronavirus Testing Criteria

The criteria to be tested are: 

  • Cough PLUS fever more than 101° or shortness of breath AND 
  • Age 65+ with a compromised immune system OR
  • Contact with a confirmed/suspected case of COVID-19 OR
  • Traveled to an area with widespread, ongoing transmission

Testing for COVID-19 requires two swabs – one nasal and one oral (from the back of the throat like a strep test) to be properly tested at an off-site lab. 

The Coronavirus starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then a week after that, shortness of breath. If you meet the criteria and have concerns, please call us at 228-809-5044 before coming to any of our locations.

New Health System Visitor Protocols

We ask you to please limit visitation to our facilities unless absolutely necessary, in order to protect our patients, guests, clinicians, and all staff, as well as our community.

In most cases, we must limit to one visitor or caregiver who is essential for the clinical evaluation of the patient and receiving post-care instructions.

Visitors to the Health System are now being screened with a series of questions before being allowed into our facilities. Visitation hours are currently 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (this may change daily). Visitation is limited to one visitor per patient at a time. 

Access to both hospitals will be limited to:

  • Main front entrances
  • Emergency Room entrances
  • Patient Registration entrances

It is important to note that you are more likely to catch COVID-19 in a large public setting than at one of our facilities, as our strict infection prevention protocols are in place and our airways are continuously filtered through a UV antibacterial purification system.

These visitation protocols are in place to prevent unnecessary person-to-person contact transfers, for the protection of the patients and staff.  

Protecting Seniors

Singing River urges those at the highest risk that are older members of our community with other chronic diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with large groups of people or individuals who may have been exposed to contagious illnesses.

Stay Informed with Singing River Health System

If you have symptoms of cough and fever less than 101° we suggest you STAY AT HOME

We encourage the community to seek factual information about COVID-19 and not fall to rumors or fiction.

Remember Coronavirus is spread from those who are actively sick with it: someone with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. It is most commonly spread from an infected person who sneezes, or coughs and their respiratory droplets are transferred into another person’s mouth or nasal passages. Those droplets are easily transferred when someone is within six feet of the infected person, or sometimes when they touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch their own mouth or nose.

What else can you do to help?

  1. We can all work to avoid the spread of the virus. If you know someone who has a fever and minor flu-like symptoms, ask them to stay home and call us at 228-809-5044. Here is a great one-pager from CDC​, note the first thing it says – “Stay Home!”
  2. For those who are not working, such as college students and anyone else available, if they know someone who works in healthcare, please offer to help babysit their children who are out of school. By healthcare workers being able to go to work, they can best help our community.
  3. It seems to be said over and over but it bears repeating: wash your hands, avoid touching your nose and mouth, avoid contact with sick people, cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue, clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  4. Share with people that it is not too late to get the flu shot. This protects others from the flu, avoids causing clog to the system for people that might actually get the Coronavirus and need treatment or testing, and it keeps the at-risk community of elderly and chronically-ill people safer.
  5. Give blood. Call the Blood Center at 985-340-2345 – they have a location in Gautier you can call direct at 228-497-7160.

We WILL get through this. Stay Singing River Strong,


updated 5:00 p.m. March 12, 2020

Singing River Health System is closely monitoring developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it makes its way into our state, working in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and the Mississippi State Department of Health. Singing River Health System has tested several patients for COVID-19, who have met the criteria required to be tested. Fortunately, all results thus far are negative.

We hope that continues to be the case with future tests, however, we are prepared in the event we do have a positive test. We regularly and routinely handle patients with infectious diseases, with strong infection control protocols in place to handle both common and rare infectious diseases like Influenza and Coronavirus.

Infectious Disease Experts

We are grateful for our extensively trained medical staff, including Dr. Okechukwu Ekenna, MD, MPH, D(ABMM), FACP, a Board Certified Infectious Disease Specialist and author of Cases in Clinical Infectious Disease Practice. He along with our entire clinical and management team is leading internal task force meetings to discuss supplies, logistics, emergency management processes, and protocols, and other necessary measures to ensure the health of our patients, visitors, students, and employees.

“Our multidisciplinary clinical team at Singing River Health System is prepared for this situation and is working together closely to ensure we are properly caring for any impacted individuals, protecting our staff, hospital patients, and guests.” 
— Randy Roth, Chief Medical Officer

Stay Informed with Singing River Health System

We encourage the community to seek factual information about COVID-19 and not fall to rumors or fiction. Coronavirus is spread from those who are actively sick with it: someone with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. It is most commonly spread from an infected person who sneezes or coughs and their respiratory droplets are transferred into another person’s mouth or nasal passages. Those droplets are easily transferred when someone is within six feet of the infected person, or sometimes when they touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch their own mouth or nose.

Recent updates and FAQ’s can be found on our Coronavirus webpage.

Protecting Seniors

Our elderly population with other existing medical vulnerabilities such as chronic heart conditions, asthma, or a weakened immune system are at the greatest risk for severe disease if infected with COVID-19. It is critical that we work together to protect those susceptible seniors from infection.

New Health System Protocols

In addition to the normal patient protocols, visitors to the Health System are soon going to be asked if they have:

  • Fever and/or cough AND
  • Have traveled to a potentially contaminated location OR
  • Been around someone known to be infected

In order to make the screenings more feasible, and due to the national spread of the virus, we are working to consolidate and limit entry points to the hospitals in the near future. 

Disease Prevention

We must not forget that we are still in flu season which poses a high risk to the vulnerable people in our community. It is critical for everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of all respiratory viruses (Coronavirus or Influenza) by following a few simple measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and/or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching your nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close unprotected contact with people who are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Coronavirus Testing Requirements

  • Fever and/or cough AND
  • Have traveled to a potentially contaminated location OR
  • Been around someone known to be infected

The Coronavirus starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then a week after that, shortness of breath. If you meet the criteria and have concerns please call us at 228-809-5044. 

“As one of the predominant Health Systems in the state, we expect and are prepared for a case of COVID-19. Our team is properly trained and equipped to handle it appropriately and without any fear. Our infection prevention protocols are robust, as evidenced by our excellent Patient Safety Ratings. Our mission to improve health and save lives will not waiver.”

— Lee Bond, CEO