Northwest Arkansas hospitals say they’re prepared for possible influx of COVID-19 patients


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas’ seeing the most growth in COVID-19 cases in the state. Knowing that trend, local hospitals said they’re prepared to treat an increasing number of patients if needed.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) shared numbers in his Wednesday press conference that shed light on the trend concerning Northwest Arkansas.

“That’s a 58% increase [from] May 17 through [May] 23,” Hutchinson said.

As of Wednesday evening, reported numbers showed Washington County was up to 326 cases and Benton County was up to 339.

In a statement, Northwest Health reiterated its ability to care for a growing number of positive patients:

“While we have cared for a few patients with COVID-19 at our hospitals, we are not currently at or near capacity nor have we been at any time. Further, we can assure the public that strong processes and adequate resources are in place at Northwest Health to ensure care is available for anyone in need. We continue to work closely with our sister hospitals and other area providers as we do in any public health situation. Additionally, it is important the public be aware that any patient with COVID-19 is cared for in an area that’s completely separate from other patient care areas and that staff members who care for COVID patients do not care for other patients. Any patient in need of medical attention can feel safe and secure in accessing care at any of our hospitals and should seek that care immediately.

Washington Regional also provided a statement:

“Washington Regional is ready to provide care and has the capacity to treat all patients who need care, including those diagnosed with  COVID-19 or other illnesses requiring specialized care.”

Other area hospitals declined to comment or didn’t respond to interview requests.

Hutchinson also noted the state’s seeing a major jump in cases in younger people, specifically the 0-17 age range.

“The cases grew from 190 on May 17 to 278,” Hutchinson said. “That’s a 46% increase.”

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