Arkansas hospital CEOs address hospitalizations amid coronavirus pandemic

Hospitalizations decreased for the first time in a week on Monday, but that didn’t keep some Arkansans from being concerned about the number of beds occupied.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Hospitalizations went down for the first time in a week. There are now a total of 237 people in the hospital. That number is seven less than yesterday.

It was positive remarks after Governor Hutchinson shared the percentages of hospital bed capacity in the state.

71% of total hospital beds are currently occupied, meaning a little more than 2,500 are available.

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77% of ICU beds are being used with only 200 available in the state.

There are currently two-thirds of ventilators that are available, and the governor said the state is ordering more.

Hospital CEO’S from Baptist Health, St. Vincent, and UAMS commented on how they are doing.

“COVID hasn’t created a critical care capacity problem. We are managing it well,” said Baptist Health’s CEO Troy Wells.

“We are more prepared and in better shape as a healthcare delivery system than we have been at any time during the pandemic,” said St. Vincent’s CEO Chad Aduddell.

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“We now have much better testing, we now have much better PPE, and we now have better means of segregating the elective procedures from patients who are COVID-19 infected,” said UAMS CEO Cam Patterson.

The Arkansas Department of Health will continue to monitor the hospital bed capacity, but Dr. Nate Smith says there are ways to expand those resources.

“We do have the ability to expand [beds]. We had planned for that back in March and April. We haven’t had to implement those plans yet, but if we do we have a way of expanding,” says Dr. Smith.