Arkansas hospitals almost filled to capacity, governor says

Watch: Arkansas hospitals almost filled to capacity, governor says

ARKANSAS — The Arkansas Governor said hospitals are almost filled to capacity with flu season just around the corner.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said right now 604 people are in the hospital with COVID-19, which is the highest number of patients in the hospital since the pandemic started.

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“This is a worrisome direction for us because we want the numbers to go down,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, state epidemiologist.

There are currently 11 people on ventilators.

Her biggest concern is about what could happen during a flu season in the middle of a pandemic.

“It will be with us for a while, it will be with us through the winter and we need to prepare and get our flu shots now,” Dillaha said.

She wants people in Arkansas to get the flu shots not just to help themselves but the whole state as it deals with crowded hospitals.

“The shot can do a lot to keep people out of the hospital and that is exactly what we need to do right now, keep people out of the hospital in Arkansas while we have this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dillaha.

Hutchinson said besides this, people need to remember the basic practices preached from the very beginning of the pandemic.

“The ultimate solution is to follow those guidelines to make sure that we are doing what we can through individual responsibility to wear a mask, washing your hands and social distancing,” said Hutchinson.

health leaders said it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to provide protective immunity so they suggest getting it now so you will be protected by the end of the month.