The healthcare crisis spurred by the spread of the virulent delta variant in Arkansas reached new heights Tuesday, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that every ICU bed in the state allotted for COVID-19 patients was full.
In a late-morning press conference, Hutchinson said that even with recent efforts to increase capacity, all Arkansas hospitals had run out of space for treating critical COVID-19 patients. Any additional patients arriving in full emergency departments would have to wait until space became available, Hutchinson said.
About four hours after his initial press conference, Hutchinson tweeted that a drop in hospitalized patients from Monday “relieves some pressure on ICU capacity,” and that “all COVID patients have access as needed to ICU.”
The hospitalization reduction relieves some pressure on ICU capacity. Currently, all COVID patients have access as needed to ICU. We're working w/hospitals to expand capacity. It's difficult with limitations on nurse staffing, but I'm proud of the determination of our hospitals. pic.twitter.com/mEM96R3yVC— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) August 24, 2021
Hospitalizations in Arkansas fell to 1,367 Tuesday, down by 44 in a day and 43 in a week, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Statewide, 343 patients were on ventilators Tuesday, a decrease of six from Tuesday but an increase of 15 from Aug. 17.
The ADH reported 45 new deaths from confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The additional deaths bring the toll in Arkansas to 6,749, up 210 in a week.
Statewide, total active cases (confirmed and probable) fell to 23,128 Tuesday, a decrease of 448 in a day and 655 in a week, according to the ADH. Total cumulative cases increased by 2,223 Tuesday, for a total of 438,465, according to the ADH. That number rose by 15,599 in a week.
State health officials had administered just over 2.6 million vaccine doses to Arkansans by Tuesday, according to the ADH, with nearly 350,000 people partially immunized and about 1.17 million people fully immunized. Approximately 11,000 new doses were administered between Tuesday and Wednesday, with over 67,000 administered in a week.
The over 1.17 million fully vaccinated Arkansans represent about 38.8% of the state’s total population. About 51.6% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
About 77% of Arkansas’ vaccine supply — nearly 3.4 million doses — had been distributed by Tuesday.
Washington County reported 1,947 total active cases (confirmed and probable), and 38,641 total cumulative cases Tuesday. Benton County reported 1,731 total active cases and 36,588 total cumulative cases Tuesday, according to the ADH.
Total active cases fell by 102 in a day and 70 in a week in Washington County. In Benton County, active cases fell by 10 in a day and 52 in a week. Total cumulative cases in the two counties increased by 1,477 and 1,179, respectively, in a week.
Between Thursday and Sunday, officials confirmed 12 new campus cases of COVID-19, with 10 new recoveries in the same period, according to the UA COVID-19 Dashboard. There were 37 active cases on campus by Sunday.
Of the 12 new cases, one was identified through on-campus testing, and 11 were self-reported.
Of the 41,598 recorded tests performed on campus since Aug. 10, 2020, a total of 1,463 have been positive, for a cumulative positivity rate of 3.5%. There was a 4% positivity rate for the week of Aug. 16-22.