Arkansas health leader says hospital staffing is ‘being stretched’ as COVID-19 cases soar in the state


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – More and more people infected with COVID-19 are being rushed to a hospital.

“This is the result of widespread in the community of the COVID-19 virus,” says Arkansas Department of Health Medical Director for Immunizations Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.

On Wednesday, the state reported 1,028 people in the hospital, a record. The number of people on ventilators also increased to 191, the highest number ever seen.

Dr. Dillaha says hospitalizations can lag behind when cases spike.

“It does not look like the number of hospitalizations is going to begin to decrease very soon and that is because the number of cases is still high,” says Dr. Dillaha.

State health leaders say there are currently enough ventilators but the big issue is keeping hospitals staffed.

“Staffing is being stretched. So the people working in the hospitals are having to work long hours and they are not having enough staff available to relieve them,” says Dr. Dillaha. “It makes it difficult to open up new beds to put additional patients in if you don’t have enough staff to take care of those people.”

Dr. Dillaha says Arkansas is reaching a point that it will become ‘very difficult’ for hospitals to the jobs they want to do.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Dillaha in the video player above.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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