Arkansas does not have any intensive care unit beds available for COVID-19 patients as a surge in virus cases continues to overwhelm the state’s health system, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday. This marks the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone should know the strain this puts on our hospitals and the need to get our vaccinations and how critical our bed space is,” Hutchinson told reporters at a news conference.
Hutchinson said hospitals in the state were working to open more ICU beds for virus patients Arkansas Department of Health Chief of Staff Renee Mallory said one hospital planned to open additional beds later Tuesday and possibly later in the week. The state on Monday reported it had 22 ICU beds available, but only a handful were equipped to handle COVID-19 patients.
Arkansas ranks fifth in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers. Arkansas has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with 40% of the state’s population fully vaccinated.
Baptist health did confirm on Tuesday afternoon that they are looking at expanding their ICU capacity by adding 18 additional beds. Three of those will be for non-COVID patients.
They expect to have those up and running in the next couple of weeks, dependent on staffing.
See the full article from ABC 7 here.