‘The perfect storm’: Hospitals facing critical situation as COVID ICU beds fall to only one available in Arkansas

Arkansas News

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 30: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Paulette Santillan departs after checking a COVID-19 patient’s vital signs in the improvised COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills neighborhood on July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The COVID-19 unit has been set up again to attend to a rise in COVID patients in a section of the hospital normally used for other purposes. The hospital had just five COVID patients last week but now is treating more than 25 amid a rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations in Southern California as the Delta variant continues to spread. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There is only one COVID ICU bed available in the state Tuesday morning with five hospitals showing limited bed space for COVID patients.

“We have nowhere to send COVID-19 patients within the State of Arkansas. There is limited bed capacity at trauma centers increasing pressure on the time-sensitive healthcare system,” said Jeff Tabor, program director for the COVIDComm system, which helps match covid-19 patients with hospitals.

Tabor said the one COVID ICU bed which is available is located in southern Arkansas. There are five hospitals, also in southern Arkansas, showing limited COVID bed space.

Tabor said some COVID-19 patients are so critical at rural Arkansas hospitals that they cannot be transferred to other hospitals because the patient is too critical and because of bed space.

“It’s been a slow-moving train to this situation over the last couple of days,” said Tabor, noting that hospital capacity is affecting all Arkansas hospital systems.

Tabor said that with less staff and fewer beds, the situation has become “the perfect storm.”

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