Governor announces COVID-19 ICU beds full throughout Arkansas

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Monday at Governor Asa Hutchinson’s weekly briefing, he explained there are zero available COVID-19 ICU beds in the state. 

Hospitals like Washington Regional have been saying for weeks COVID-19 ICU beds are either full or they’re close, and it’s a problem Governor Asa Hutchinson said we’ll be working to solve. 

“I know hospitals are working to bring some additional beds online, but that is a cautionary note for everyone,” said Hutchinson. 

However, Health professionals are concerned bringing additional COVID-19 beds online might not be the solution. 

“The way out of this problem is vaccinations. Without them, we’re going to continue to exceed the number of beds that we have available. So each time we make beds available, they will become filled,” said Secretary of Health, Dr. Jose Romero. 

Dr. David Ratcliff, chief medical officer for Washington Regional, said they’re one hospital considering bringing additional beds online. 

“There is a surge five-level, and we’re looking every day to see if we have to or need to go that way. But understand it comes with a price,” said Ratcliff. 

The worse it gets in the COVID-19 unit, the more attention it takes away from general ICU patients. 

“Anytime we add additional COVID-19 beds, it means we have to shift additional staff and others. Unfortunately, we’re not able to manufacture nurses, respiratory therapists, and lab personnel,” said Ratcliff. 

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