MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The White House Coronavirus Task Force identified 10 counties in Arkansas as “COVID red zones.” Eight of them are in the Northeast part of the state.
The health facilities below have issued a joint statement urging residents to be cautious as cases increase.
- Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould
- Baptist Memorial Hospital - Crittenden of West Memphis,
- Great River Medical Center
- South Mississippi County Medical Center in Blytheville/Osceola
- Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Walnut Ridge
- NEA Baptist Health System of Jonesboro
- NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University Piggott Community Hospital
- St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro
- St. Bernards Five Rivers of Pocahontas
- St. Bernards CrossRidge of Wynne
“We are in a second wave and we are looking down a very difficult two or three months I think here. Our numbers are increasing fairly rapidly to the point of alarmingly and if this keeps up we’ll have a big problem,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Doctor, Baptist Memorial Hospital.
All Northeast Arkansas hospitals are experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 patients.
“We’ve seen a lot of numbers go up, I mean we had about 50 people in our hospital at the minimum after the kind of first wave at least been blunted and now we’re back up to 80 as of yesterday,” said Threlkeld.
During Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing Secretary of Health, Dr. José R. Romero said he does not attribute the rise in cases to surrounding states. Governor Asa Hutchinson also mentioned he’s had conversations with hospitals in the Northeast region and agrees residents need to be cautious.
“The solution to control the spread of the virus is not restrictions on businesses, the solution is people watching their own discipline in terms of wearing a mask, social distancing,” said Hutchinson.
Threlkeld also says the biggest fear with this second wave is that it can spread more efficiently.
He says they are aware of hospitals in rural areas that may not be able to handle a surge in cases and they have been exploring ideas on how to step in and help.