COVID-19 surge strains ICU capacity in Arkansas, Mississippi: 5 things to know

Intensive care unit beds are filling up in Mississippi and Arkansas amid a major surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, NBC News reported Aug. 4.

Five things to know:

1. As of Aug. 5, only six ICU beds were available in Mississippi, according to Jonathan Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, chief administrative officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. In total, the state has 851 staffed ICU beds, according to HHS data.

"We are at the cusp of this. We know that we aren't at the crest of this wave,” Dr. Wilson said during an Aug. 4 news briefing, according to NBC News. "It's bad, but it's probably going to get a little worse."

2. Health officials are helping healthcare facilities coordinate patient transfers when possible to eliminate some of the strain driven by high numbers of COVID-19 patients and other intensive care patients, according to NBC News. 

3. Arkansas had 25 ICU beds open as of Aug. 4, according to NBC affiliate KARK. There are 1,066 total staffed ICU beds in the state, HHS data shows.

4. Arkansas reported 20,559 active COVID-19 cases Aug. 4, marking a 421 percent jump from the same day a month prior and the highest tally since Jan. 21, according to Fox 16 News.

5. Mississippi and Arkansas are among the states with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates. About 35 percent of Mississippi residents were fully vaccinated as of Aug. 4, along with 37 percent of Arkansas residents, according to CDC data.

 

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