Arkansas Children’s Hospital has enacted its COVID-19 surge plan to admit trauma patients up to age 25 to take the load off other hospitals dealing with a high volume of patients with the illness, it’s informed its staff. ACH’s regular age limit is 18*. The lift in age limit applies to trauma patients only.

The state hit a record of 901 people hospitalized with COVID-19 yesterday, the Arkansas Department of Health announced. More than 8,000 Arkansans have been hospitalized with the viral illness and more than 2,000 have died.

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The ACH newsletter’s message:

Since March, Arkansas Children’s has prepared for a surge in patients and volume in the community related to COVID-19. That surge is occurring. In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases, adult hospitalizations and adult ICU volumes have significantly increased throughout Arkansas.

The hospital also said the Arkansas State Board of Nursing “will allow flexibility for APRNs to practice outside the parameters established by their advanced education and certification during the current declared state of emergency. However, this doesn’t mean any APRN should be performing activities in which they are not competent.”

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The move is being done in collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Trauma Call Center, which directs trauma traffic statewide.

Children’s has four patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Little Rock and one at its Northwest Arkansas hospital. It has had 183 on staff test positive for the virus: 55 nonclinical and 128 clinical.

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UAMS hit a record 47 COVID-19 hospitalizations yesterday, Vice Chancellor Leslie Taylor said, but two people have since been discharged. The medical center has added 12 ICU beds, for a total of 64, to handle both COVID-19 and other patients needing intensive care. 

* An earlier version of this post said the age limit was 21.