Northwest Arkansas hospital presidents, doctors urge public to get vaccinated as COVID-19 hospitalizations climb


ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas hospital presidents and physicians are urging the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19

According to a release from Northwest Arkansas Healthcare Providers, as of June 30, 2020, there are 36 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in NWA, up from 11 at the beginning of June, a 227 percent increase.

The jump has hospital staff and administrators concerned that the number of infections will continue to climb in the days and weeks to come.

“This needs to be about as big of a red flag as you can get, to the public, that we’re not doing a good job in controlling this virus. We see the number of hospitalizations going up, and I see in our own physician practices that they’re going up,” said Dr. Jason McKinney, a Mercy physician.

Larry Shackelford, president and CEO of Washington Regional Medical Center, agrees with McKinney.

“We are continuing to see a trend of very sick COVID-19 patients with a larger percentage of those COVID-19 patients requiring critical care, on top of a pretty significant increase in critically ill patients overall,” said Shackelford.

The Northwest Arkansas Healthcare Providers, which include Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Community Clinic, Mercy Northwest Arkansas, Northwest Health, UAMS Northwest, Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and Washington Regional Medical Center, are continuing to implore people to get the vaccine, emphasizing that the Delta variant presents a serious threat and that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

“What’s troubling is that most COVID-19 hospitalizations can be prevented. We know being vaccinated lessens the likelihood of becoming hospitalized or critically ill. As the governor shared yesterday, 98.3% of this year’s hospitalized patients were not immunized and sadly almost 100% of those that passed away this year were not vaccinated either,” said Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital NWA president. “Our community has a low vaccinate rate, so we are urging people to please get their vaccine now. It can save lives. It is free and accessible.” 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and widely available.

For more information on where to get inoculated against COVID-19, click here.

2021 monthly hospitalized COVID-19 patient averages:

Today (June 30, 2020) Benton and Washington Counties have 36 patients in COVID-19 units.

June:           23 patients

May:           13 patients

April:           15 patients

March:        19 patients

February:     49 patients

January:      113 patients

2021 monthly ventilator use averages:

Today (June 30, 2020) Benton and Washington Counties have 33 ventilators in use supporting patient needs.

June:           27 ventilators

May:           22 ventilators

April:           20 ventilators

March:        26 ventilators

 February:     31 ventilators

January:      49 ventilators

2021 monthly ICU bed occupancy averages:

Today (June 30, 2020) Benton and Washington Counties have 99 ICU beds in use supporting patient needs.

June:                  81 ICU beds

May:                  76 ICU beds

April:           77 ICU beds

March:                  81 ICU beds

February:                  94 ICU beds

January:                  107 ICU beds

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

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