Arkansas Children’s Reports Record COVID-19 Patients

The governor is discussing increasing hospital capacity after hospitalizations surpass 1,000 statewide.

Black boy hugging a teddy bear in a hospital bed

Arkansas Children’s was treating a record 24 patients for COVID-19 yesterday. This record high is a 50 percent increase over any previous daily hospitalization peak experienced by ACH during the pandemic. 

Of the 24 patients admitted, officials said seven are in the ICU and four are on ventilators. None of them have been fully immunized against COVID-19 even though more than half of them are eligible.

“Arkansas Children’s appeals to families and the public to please vaccinate children who are eligible immediately,” chief clinical and academic officer Dr. Rick Barr said in a statement. “We will continue to see more kids get sick quickly and the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are by taking the vaccine, masking and social distancing.”

The situation at Arkansas Children’s is an example of what health care systems are seeing across Arkansas. Hospitalizations statewide surpassed 1,000 yesterday as the Arkansas Department of Health reported the sent an 45 more people to the hospital. An additional 2,052 people tested positive. There are nearly 15,500 active cases in Arkansas.

Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, reported his staff was caring for 75 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, up from 66 Monday morning. Five of them were on heart-lung bypass.

“Sadly another patient died,” Patterson wrote on Twitter. “Still zero patients in the hospital with complications from the vaccine. Wear a mask and get vaxxed please!”

Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home reported reaching its highest COVID-19 patient census and is limiting visitors to one per patient. As of yesterday, Baxter Regional had 43 COVID-19 patients, with 10 in the ICU and 9 on a ventilator. Thirty employees are out with COVID-19, at home and in isolation.

“The situation at Baxter Regional is critical,” officials stated on their website. “Our ICU is full with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. Our staff is weary, concerned for our community and desperate for this pandemic to end, but we continue to serve in extraordinary ways.”

Following the announcement that hospitalizations had topped 1,000 in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he would meet with his COVID Task Force this morning to discuss ways to increase hospital capacity.

“Vaccines are the best antidote for our increasing numbers; the best antidote for fear is counsel from a trustworthy advisor,” Hutchinson said social media.

More information about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination is available on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website

Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is an Arkansas-based journalist. She has covered race, culture, politics, health, education and the arts for NPR affiliates as well as print and digital publications since 2007.