The number of patients hospitalized with covid-19 in Northwest Arkansas continued to increase for the second consecutive week, according to area health care providers.
Twenty-eight patients were hospitalized with the virus in the region Friday, up from 24 Thursday and 21 Wednesday, according to Martine Pollard, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health System who released a joint statement on covid-19 from the region's largest health care organizations.
Most of the patients hospitalized Friday had not been vaccinated, Pollard said. She urged community members to get the covid vaccine.
"While our inpatient covid-19 numbers are still relatively low, we are concerned about this month's increase and knowing most of those patients have not been vaccinated," Pollard said. "Local, state and national physicians and medical communities agree, getting the covid-19 vaccine is the greatest tool we have to protect ourselves and one another from the virus and to end the pandemic."
Last week also saw a small spike in Northwest Arkansas covid-19 hospitalizations, with 21 cases June 9, falling back to 16 cases June 11. Overall, there has been a 155% increase in hospitalized patients since June 1, when there were 11 cases in the region, Pollard said.
Statewide, 235 patients were hospitalized Friday, up 17% from June 1, when 201 were hospitalized, according to the Arkansas Health Department. There were 116 patients in intensive care units in the state, up 32% from June 1, and 59 patients on ventilators, up 53%.
Benton County reported 22 new cases of the virus Friday, and Washington County reported 18 new cases, said Danyelle McNeill, public information officer for the state Health Department.
Washington County saw two covid-related deaths last week, bringing the county's total number of deaths this year to 150, according to Janell Smith, Washington County deputy coroner.
There were no additional covid-related deaths in Benton County last week, said Benton County Coroner Daniel Oxford. There have been 118 covid-related deaths in the county this year, he said.
In Benton County, 87,116 people, or 38% of the population over the age of 12, were fully vaccinated as of Friday, and 18,271 people, or 8% of the population, were partially vaccinated, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
In Washington County, 74,706 people, or 37% of the population over age 12, were fully vaccinated, and 17,674 people, or 8%, were partially vaccinated.
Numbers across the state were similar, where 961,230 people, or 38% of the population over age 12, were fully vaccinated, and 224,661 people, or 9%, were partially vaccinated.
Nationally, 176 million people, or 53% of the population over age 12, had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 148 million people, or 45%, were fully vaccinated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information on where vaccines are available, visit nwacouncil.org/vaccine-calendar/ or healthy.arkansas.gov .
Since the pandemic began, there have been two significant inpatient covid-19 surges:
• Summer 2020, when area hospitals were caring for 80 to 115 patients at a time in June and July.
• Winter 2020/21, when hospitals were caring for 80 to 140 patients at a time in November, December and January.
Source: Northwest Arkansas Council