State pays $3M for 10 intensive care unit beds at local hospital

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Thanks to new funding, St. Bernards Medical Center received ten more intensive care unit (ICU) beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients, hoping to help with the strain.

“I do feel it was absolutely necessary to increase to the 75 beds to meet the need within our community. It’s difficult to say whether that’s enough. At this point and time, it is,” said Medical Center Administrator Michael Givens.

Right now, the hospital has 70 ICU patients, with 27 being from COVID-19.

Last week, they had 65 ICU beds. Now, thanks to $3 million from the state, they have 75.

But the strain remains, as the hospital still only has 5 beds open.

“It is concerning that the extra beds are needed. When we look at probably July 1 to today, we’ve seen such an increase in the number of COVID patients, and most of them being patients that have the Delta variant,” Givens said.

They’re using previous ICU space in their main tower and have opened up medical surgery beds.

“I do feel that it will help with the strain in the system; however, if we don’t take the precautions to really curtail this virus, we could continue to see a rise in the number of cases, and that would be very detrimental,” Givens said.

He added that there’s a simple way to keep yourself and others safe: Get the shot.

“Eighty-seven percent of all COVID admissions are not vaccinated, so that is very concerning, the trend that we’ve seen, the marked increase in hospitalizations not only in our region but across the state,” said Givens.

The hospital works closely with Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office and participates in weekly calls urging the need for more beds.

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