Aug 24, 2021 - News
Arkansas is out of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients
Source: Mercy Health spokesperson Martine Pollard on behalf of NWA hospitals; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the first time since the pandemic began, Arkansas has no available ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday during a news conference.

  • The state does have some ICU beds available for non-COVID patients, Health Department chief of staff Renee Mallory said. She didn't have the exact number available.

Of note: Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are younger than earlier in the pandemic. The average age of hospitalized patients in Arkansas is 54, compared to 63 in November.

Zoom in: NWA hospitals had 159 COVID-19 patients as of Monday.

  • About 90% were unvaccinated.
  • The average age was 43 and the youngest was under 12.

What's next: Projections released Tuesday by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences paint a grim picture.

  • UAMS predicts the greatest relative increase in hospitalizations and cases in the next month will be in children and teens.
  • Arkansas should expect a surge 5–10 days after the beginning of the school year and another 5–10 days after Labor Day weekend, according to the report.
  • "We should expect an average of 30 additional deaths per day," the report reads.

The bottom line: Only 45% of eligible Arkansans are fully vaccinated. This situation will not get better unless way more people get vaccinated, health experts, including state health secretary Jose Romero, say.

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