LITTLE ROCK, Ark — As COVID-19 surges, data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows there are more patients in the ICU for the virus than not.
In Tuesday's press conference, Gov. Hutchinson opened by saying Arkansas's ICU bed space for COVID-19 patients is full. But by the afternoon, the governor noted on Twitter that hospitalizations and ventilator use had dropped relieving "some pressure on ICU capacity."
He called it a "cautionary note for everyone." He also noted that these numbers often fluctuate and that hospitals are working to get more beds online.
Key facts to know:
- Total cases: 438,465 (+2,223)
- Total deaths: 6,749 (+45)
- Currently hospitalized: 1,367 (-44)
- Fully immunized: 1,171,949 (+6,006)
The governor warned people not to use ivermectin for treating the virus. He said that the Arkansas Poison Control Center has seen increased calls in number of people taking the drug.
Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas's health secretary, said booster shots should be available September 20. You will be eligible for booster 8 months after your last dose.
The average age of people hospitalized in Arkansas has decreased from 63.6 year olds in November to 54.6 currently. Gov. Hutchinson said this reflects the impact of Delta and the immunization rate in older versus younger age groups.
"We're working with hospitals to expand capacity," Hutchinson said. "It's difficult with limitations on nurse staffing, but I'm proud of the determination of our hospitals."
The positivity rate in Arkansas is over 20% for COVID-19 cases, which is five times the national average, according to health officials.
In the latest UAMS projection, all counties in the state show low vaccination rates as the state battles ICU bed shortages as cases and hospitalizations continue to surge.