Local hospitals starting to fill up with Omicron cases

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Arkansas is seeing the most rapid increase of COVID-19 case numbers it has ever seen, and UAMS says they’re noticing the same with COVID hospitalizations. 

“We were running in the teens a week ago, but now we are somewhere in the fifties, and we expect to hit new record highs in a number of days,” says Dr. Rawle Seupaul, chief clinical officer for UAMS. 

He says the hospital is currently experiencing the largest rate of increase for COVID-19 hospitalization. It’s ever seen; something he attributes directly to the Omicron variant. 

“The infectivity rate is on the level of measles which I think we all recognize as a highly infectious disease,” says Dr. Seupaul. 

Baptist Health Fort Smith says right now; its hospitalization numbers are holding steady. 

“So far, we are not seeing an increase in the critical care admissions,” says Dr. Raed Khairy. 

However, UAMS and the ADH say Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley could be weeks away from completely filled local COVID ICU units.  

“But it’s all the non-Covid cases that need the complex care that UAMS can provide, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do that,” says Dr. Seupaul. 

UAMS says those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 were primarily those who are unvaccinated. 

However, now they’re noticing more of a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, but those it’s seeing the least are people who have had at three doses. 

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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