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Arkansas Medical Staff Shortage, ICU Beds, New School Year Big Concern For Hospitals

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Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith / Red River Radio News

ARKANSAS COVID CONCERNS:  According to the latest report from the Arkansas State Department of Health, Arkansas has had 41 more Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the state’s total to 6,539 since the pandemic began, three of those deaths  include  children.  Right now just over 1400  Arkansans  are hospitalized.  This recent surge in Covid cases has hospital administrators concerned.    Marcy Doderer,  Chief Executive Officer for Arkansas Children’s Hospital said on Arkansas Public Televisions Talk Business and Politics  that  having enough ICU’s and the qualified medical staff to run them are the biggest challenges. 

"We are all really pushing our teams at their limits at times," Dorderer said. "They tend to be the true heroes of this pandemic."

Arkansas is among states with high vaccine hesitancy as around 38% of its population is fully vaccinated.  And mitigation measures such as mask mandates have been a political issue with lawmakers passing a ban on local school boards from requiring masks in school, a ban that has been temporarily suspended in court.  Hospital CEO Doderer worries about the start of the new school year.        

Marcy Doderer, CEO / Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock
Credit Courtesy: Arkansas Children's Hospital
Marcy Doderer, CEO / Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock

"We are a little anxious at Arkansas Children's (Hospital) about what will happen if our 400,000 or so school children don't really live by the known and proven rules to make it through a pandemic like Covid." Doderer said.

Dorderer  says hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks in schools  as well as eligible people getting vaccinated  are the best ways to reduce community spread of Covid.  She also said that Arkansas hospitals are seeing an increase in children with respiratory illness  a lot sooner  than  normal  along  with Covid cases.    Arkansas hospital administrators are concerned about healthcare staff and ICU bed shortages as well as the upcoming school year during the current Covid surge.

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