Updated modeling from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health projects a need for hospital beds for COVID-19 patients alone at almost 3,750 in October. That’s bad news for Arkansas hospitals. Here are the state Department of Health numbers on Arkansas’s hospital bed capacity as of 2 p.m. yesterday:
Total capacity: 8,917
Total available beds: 2,533
Total ICU beds: 970
Total available ICU beds: 177
Total vents: 869
Total available vents: 562
COVID-19 patients in ICU: 125
COVID-19 patients on vents: 56
The model also projects active infections in Arkansas at a little over 200,000, or almost 40 times the number of active cases today (5,223). Models can’t predict accurately, experts say, but suggest trend. True case numbers are running below predicted numbers, but following the forecast slope.
The state has not provided information on hospital capacity by region; the Arkansas Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the data 12 days ago, but the agency says its legal department has been too backed up handling FOIA requests to provide the information. The state provided Lindsey Millar the information yesterday, according to the health department. Millar, who is on vacation, will update this post later.
Regional information would indicate the pressure on hospitals in Northwest Arkansas, where infections have been skyrocketing — with testing finding 20 percent positives in Washington County on Monday — and, in light of modeling that shows a need for 3,326 COVID-19 beds as flu season starts at the end of September, hospital CEOs have urged people to take safety precautions so their facilities don’t become stressed. As several doctors, including UAMS Health CEO Dr. Steppe Mette, have said, the fewer the patients, the better the outcomes.
The New York Times is reporting that several states seeing a rise in virus cases are calling off steps to reopen and some are scaling back. Texas, which reported a record high of 5,000 new cases on Tuesday, is telling its local officials they can again restrict gatherings to 100; Maine won’t reopen bars as planned; Idaho is pulling back on allowing gatherings of 50. The leading medical voice in the U.S. is worried: Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress called the surge “disturbing.”
The most recent case investigation data to be released by the health department — from June 18 — puts cases linked to nursing homes and jails at 2,913, a number that has gone up substantially since then, contacts with known positives at 4,422, travel at 56, contact with persons under investigation for COVID-19 at 190 and “members of known or suspected clusters” (as in poultry industry cases) at 1,807. Unliked cases total 3,372. The total of linked cases, not including those still under investigation, is 12,760. Unlinked cases make up 26.4 percent of the total investigated. There are 5,223 active cases; the health department’s 280 or so contact tracers are tasked with investigating how they were infected and whom they’ve come into contact with.
We’ll find out where Arkansas stands today when Governor Hutchinson holds his update at 1:30 p.m. The Times has also asked for updated models from the College of Public Health.