Northeast Arkansas hospitals struggle to keep beds available

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 11:19 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 10:04 AM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Northeast Arkansas hospitals are running out of room as the number of COVID-19 patients increases.

The numbers continue to go up as the omicron variant remains the most contagious.

“We don’t believe we’ve seen the peak of this variant,” said Gary Paxson, president and CEO of White River Health System.

Both White River Medical Center and NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital are seeing a slow but steady increase in COVID-19 cases.

At WRMC in Batesville, they have 224 beds with 60 beds set aside for COVID-19 patients. Fifty are in use.

At NEA Baptist, they have 71 COVID-19 patients and 228 beds available.

“Unlike what we were seeing with delta, where a lot of patients coming in were needing intensive care, we are seeing a lot of patients on Med-Surg,” said Ty Jones, director of marketing at NEA Baptist. “It’s great that they are not needing intensive care, but that’s taking a majority of the rooms.”

Both hospitals also have contingency plans.

NEA Baptist is providing beds to anyone who has COVID and working to find ways to send patients to other hospitals within their system if needed.

Their capacity has been steadily around 90%.

WRMC has dedicated a specific number of beds for COVID patients with plans to accommodate 100 patients. They are incrementally increasing this number as needed.

Both hospitals are recommending people get vaccinated because they say the majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.

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