Washington Regional implementing Phase 4 COVID-19 Surge Plan

Northwest Arkansas News

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Washington Regional Medical Center has implemented Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Surge Plan.

According to the press release, this will allow the hospital to open and staff a third dedicated COVID unit by reassigning additional hospital and clinic team members to assist in areas of greatest need in the hospital.

Washington Regional says due to Phase 4 being implemented, some non-emergent, elective surgeries, and some clinic operations will be paused to obtain the necessary staff in Phase 4.

Over the past six weeks, Northwest Arkansas has experienced an exponential surge in the number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. On June 17, there were 24 COVID-19 positive patients in NWA hospitals. This week in NWA, we reached an all-time high of 165 COVID inpatients. The region is also seeing more critically ill non-COVID patients than at any other time during the pandemic. This week we reached an all-time high of 127 ICU patients in NWA hospitals. These volumes are having an unprecedented impact on health systems in our region, including Washington Regional, largely due to the need for hospital nursing staff and available beds to be directed to the care of COVID inpatients. What this means for our community is that if you or a loved one go to the emergency room; you will likely face longer wait times.

Statement from Birch Wright, Chief Operating Officer and Administrator

The medical center says it is crucial that the NWA community understands the current surge is the most serious situation we have encountered since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The concern that local health care systems could be overwhelmed has become reality. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that we will be required to implement additional measures in the future as we have not yet reached the projected peak in hospitalizations,” according to the statement from Washington Regional.

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