FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Christmas is behind us but many of you are still on break looking forward to New Years’. Because of this the ADH is concerned about a post-holiday COVID spike that could be imminent.

“I am very worried about that and I hope people will do their best to show their love for one another by protecting one another from the spread of COVID,” says State Epidemiologist for the ADH, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.

Dillaha tells that we had a spike in cases following Thanksgiving and is worried that we are going to see the same for January. A spike that this time around that we would be less equipped to handle 

Dillaha says, “I know some hospitals are saying that they are full or almost full and of course like I am sure you have heard the governor has made plans to build-out an alternate care site to make more bed available.”

Dillaha explains the construction of these makeshift will take several weeks, but that’s not what is keeping her up at night.  

“One of the biggest challenges we have though is staffing we need nurses and other healthcare professionals to take care of these patients and we do just not have enough to go around,” says Dillaha.

A problem that is not easily solved 

“Arkansas is competing with other states that also have a lot of COVID,” says Dillaha, “cases for nurses usually we recruit traveling nurses to Arkansas to fill the need for nursing in our state and we are struggling with that.”

Arkansas has waived fees and licensing requirements to get nurses on the frontlines quicker which has graduating nurses feeling mixed emotions.