• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Hospital worried about predicted surge in Covid-19 cases from Labor Day weekend


JONESBORO, Ark- There is serious concern that Labor Day gatherings could lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases. Northeast Arkansas News speaks to one local doctor to hear if they’re concerned about the holiday and how Hurricane Ida could play a role in it.


St. Bernards Infectious Disease physician Dr. John Norwood says it’s not about if there will be a surge in Covid cases because they’re expecting a surge. The hospital is already full, but they’re expecting more patients will be admitted following the Labor Day holiday.


“We’ve certainly discovered that the current virus is more infectious and more transmissible than it’s been. So, we would be expecting there would be more cases of COVID following the holiday,” said Dr. John Norwood.


Norwood says they’re most worried about the unvaccinated, who are gathering in close areas without masks.


St. Bernards is full as covid-19 patients continue to keep their occupancy high. The hospital has 85 non-ICU patients, 26 ICU patients, and nine on ventilators.


With a surge and limited beds, Dr. Norwood urges people to get vaccinated as the pandemic takes a toll on the hospital system.


“You deal with it on a day-to-day basis and try to make things work if you can. It’s been called the pandemic of the unvaccinated is what we’re seeing now. People who haven’t been vaccinated make up probably ninety percent of people in the ICU,” Dr. Norwood.


Dr. Norwood is encouraging people who are unvaccinated to celebrate responsibly this weekend and continue to mask up.


In addition to Covid-19, the hospital accepted patients evacuated from Louisiana due to Hurricane Ida. Adding an additional strain on an already full facility.


“Some of the hospitals there which were already stressed are struggling even more, if not actually evacuating people. So, they no longer have the capability to take people who are critically ill in their facilities. So, we’re getting more- we are getting some transfers from Louisiana,” he said.


Dr. Norwood is encouraging everyone eligible, that would be everyone 12 and older, to get vaccinated.

St. Bernards offers the vaccine every day at all their primary and urgent care clinics.

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