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Tuesday's Axios Northwest Arkansas stories

NWA COVID-19 surge threatens to strain health care system

Data: Northwest Arkansas health care providers. Chart: Axios Visuals

Pictures sometimes tell the stories words can't.

Why it matters: As cases rise, so will the strain on the local health care system.

Details: These numbers are representative of 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.

Zoom out: COVID-19 cases statewide were up by 1,875 on Tuesday, the largest one-day increase in more than five months, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

  • The number of people hospitalized in Arkansas Tuesday was 815, the highest since February.
  • There were 313 patients in intensive care and 131 on ventilators.

Cam Patterson, UAMS chancellor, told the Associated Press that the increases are straining hospital resources.

The bottom line: Arkansas still has the highest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S., at 36 per 100,000 residents.

Of note: Gov. Asa Hutchinson extended his road trips and next week will travel to Mountain Home, Dumas, Heber Springs and Siloam Springs to try to convince the vaccine hesitant to get the shot.

Go deeper: Axios' national team continues to cover the issue from every angle:

Women-owned restaurants land most revitalization grants

Source: Small Business Administration. Chart: Axios Visuals

An Axios analysis of Small Business Administration data shows that nearly half of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants awarded in Arkansas went to women-owned restaurants or food businesses.

Context: The SBA initially gave priority access to small businesses that are majority-owned by women, veterans, or those who are socially and economically disadvantaged by giving them a 21-day head start on the application process.

See inside: Springdale equestrian estate asks $3.8 million

Photos courtesy of Portfolio Sotheby's International Realty

Former NFL player Buck Ortega and his family are selling this custom-built estate for $3.8 million.

  • Ortega played college football at the University of Miami, and his NFL career included stints with the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and the New Orleans Saints.
  • His wife is from NWA. He was a partner in four Planet Fitness franchises in the area that sold in 2019.

National COVID-19 case surge threatens Northwest Arkansas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The same week NWA ranked as the fourth best place to live in the U.S., the Natural State made national headlines for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson took a road trip to combat vaccine hesitancy by meeting with Arkansans face-to-face.

Reality check: The surge is real and NWA is right on the edge of a national hot spot to the north, according to the New York Times' tracker.

Fayetteville's tourism budget bounces back thanks to restaurant-goers

Fayetteville's tourism budget is rebounding as people eat out at restaurants again. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Editor's note: This is the first in a four-part series looking at the state of tourism in NWA’s four largest cities as they emerge from the pandemic.

Fayetteville's tourism arm, Experience Fayetteville, is beginning to see revenues bounce back, but it could take until next year to see pre-pandemic numbers, Molly Rawn, the organization's chief executive officer, tells Axios.

What's happening: In a promising sign, advertising and promotions tax collections for this spring were up slightly from spring 2019.