FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Washington Regional Medical System’s Chief Operating Officer issues a statement about the “serious public health emergency” in Northwest Arkansas.

In a statement released to KNWA/FOX24, Washington Regional has seen a 170% increase in the number of COVID-19 tests performed at its screening clinics, a 156% increase in calls to the Washington Regional COVID-19 Hotline and a 350% increase in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

“It is important for our community to understand that we are not seeing more hospitalizations simply because more testing is being done,” Birch G. Wright, Washington Regional’s COO said in a statement. “We are seeing more hospitalizations because more people in our area are being infected with the virus.”

Washington Regional’s COVID-19 Clinic has reopened at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard in Fayetteville to address the increased demand for screening and testing.

“This clinic is dedicated to COVID-19 screening and testing of individuals who do not have any symptoms but who may have had a direct exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive,” Wright said.

On June 9, Washington Regional opened a second inpatient unit to care for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients. The unit can treat 38 COVID-19 inpatients with the ability to expand capacity as necessary.

Washington Regional wants the community to be assured that Washington Regional is prepared for this surge. Over the past several months, our team has planned and prepared for this pandemic and we have the staff, supplies and resources to effectively respond while continuing our customary health care operations. We have the capacity to safely provide care for all in our community – not just those who require hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Birch G. Wright, MPA
Chief Operating Officer and Administrator, Washington Regional Medical System

“We believe it is of great importance that every member of our community hear the message that it is critically important to take the recent surge in COVID-19 cases seriously. In the early days of the pandemic, we saw a tremendous outpouring of support for health care workers. Here is what the community can do to help us now – wear a mask when out in public, practice social distancing, regularly wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, and stay home when you are sick,” Wright said in a statement.

To read the full statement from Washington Regional Medical Center click here.

More information about Washington Regional and its COVID-19 response can be found on its website.