ICU doctor warns of COVID-19 surge; “It’s a more serious issue than what I think a lot of the public believes it is.”


ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – It is a message we have been hearing for more than a year now: the risks of COVID-19 and reasons to take it seriously, but Dr. Jason Mckinney at Mercy Hospital in Rogers said it is continuing to pose a threat and Arkansas is among the highest at risk.

“It’s a more serious issue than what I think a lot of the public believes it is,” Dr. Mckinney said.

Dr. Mckinney is the Medical Director of the ICU at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. He said as of Tuesday, June 13, there are 19 COVID-19 patients in the hospital there, which is already an increase from last week.

“They are still steadily increasing,” he said. “The number is higher for admissions we have this week than it was last week and our fear for what’s gonna happen is what we’ve seen across southern Missouri and across other parts of this state and places across the country that have a low vaccination rate.”

According to the CDC, nearly every county in Arkansas is considered to have a high level of community transmission while Arkansas still ranks among the lowest states in the country for vaccination rates.

“It’s very true that if you get vaccinated, yes, you can still get COVID,” Dr. Mckinney said. “That’s the same thing with every other vaccine that’s ever existed.”

Dr. Mckinney said of all the COVID-19 patients treated over the last several months at Mercy Hospital, 98-99% of them were not vaccinated.

“The risk of having a longstanding complication from COVID is much higher than the risk of having a complication from the vaccine,” he said. “So, if we’re playing the odds here it’s still in people’s best interest to get vaccinated.”

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