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Northwest Arkansas hospitals see slight increase in covid-19 patients

by Janelle Jessen | June 12, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
FILE -- Battalion Chief Justin Scantin (right) administers a covid-19 vaccine to Logan Redus, 17, Friday, May 7, 2021 at a pop-up clinic at the downtown square in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

The number of covid-19 cases in Northwest Arkansas hospitals spiked from 10 last week to 21 Wednesday, according to area health care providers.

The number fell to 16 by Friday, according to Martine Pollard, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health System who released a joint statement this week on covid-19 from the region's largest health care organizations.

"With lower inpatient covid-19 volumes and the covid-19 vaccine widely available to all Arkansans 12 years and older, we want to be hopeful that the end of the pandemic is drawing near," Pollard said. "But the end is not here yet, and we ask that everyone please stay vigilant when appropriate, including getting the covid-19 vaccine."

Northwest Arkansas hospitals reported a declining trend in covid-19 hospitalizations June 2. Regional covid-19 hospitalizations had remained fewer than 20 patients for several weeks up until this week.

In comparison, area hospitals cared for between 80 and 115 covid-19 patients at a time in June and July of 2020 and treated as many as 140 at a time in January.

Statewide, 202 patients were hospitalized with covid-19 Friday, including 95 patients in intensive care units and 42 patients on ventilators, according to Danyelle McNeill of the Arkansas Health Department.

Benton County reported 21 new cases and Washington County reported 22 new cases of the virus Friday, she said.

Cases of covid-19 related deaths in Washington County slowed in May and June, said Janell Smith, Washington County deputy coroner. The bulk of Washington County's 148 covid-related deaths in 2021 occurred in January and February, she said. The coroner's office has handled three covid-related deaths in May and two in June, she said.

Likewise, Benton County has seen five covid-related deaths since the start of May, county Coroner Daniel Oxford said Thursday. The county has reported 118 covid-related deaths this year.

In Benton County, 83,851 people, or 36.26% of the population over the age of 12, were fully vaccinated and 19,750 people, or 8.54%, were partially vaccinated Friday, according to the state Health Department. Numbers were similar in Washington County, where 72,651 people, or 36.19% of the population over the age of 12, were fully vaccinated and 18,357 people, or 9.14%, were partially vaccinated.

Statewide, 938,762 people, or 36.71% of the population, were vaccinated Friday and 232,637 people, or 9.1%, were partially vaccinated, the department reported.

Nationally, 141.59 million people, or 42.6% of the population, were fully vaccinated and 172.42 million people, or 51.9%, have received at least one dose, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

For more information on where vaccines are available, visit nwacouncil.org/vaccine-calendar/ or healthy.arkansas.gov.

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Northwest Arkansas hospitalized patient averages for 2021:

May: 13 patients

April: 15 patients

March: 19 patients

February: 49 patients

January: 113 patients

Source: Northwest Arkansas health care providers

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