Fayetteville Board of Health discusses concerns about students returning

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville’s Board of Health discusses concerns about university students returning in the fall.

In a virtual meeting, board members discussed the city’s role in keeping the community safe as tens of thousands of students head to Fayetteville.

Huda Sharaf with the board said Northwest Arkansas is already seeing a shortage of resources at one time reporting just 42 ICU beds available for the region.

She worries with the increase of population already taxed resources could become scarce if infections increase.

“If we bring in 20 30,000 additional persons, they become infected and they expose vulnerable populations on our campus and in our communities. If the medical resources in our local area are already taxed and then those become saturated, how about the residents of Fayetteville? Like when we become ill, where are we supposed to go?” she said.

Sharaf said she has been in ongoing communication with administrators at the university as well as state health officials to discuss these concerns, but the board agrees, strength comes in numbers.

The board is continuing to discuss a group approach to reach state lawmakers to further address what could become a crisis.

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