Number of COVID-19 deaths in Crittenden Co. doubles; hospital bed capacity in Jonesboro expands

by George Jared ([email protected]) 3,848 views 

Crittenden County remained the second hardest-hit county in the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday (April 16), the number of cases continued to expand and the death toll there doubled. The Arkansas Department of Health reported that there are 122 confirmed cases in the county and four residents have died from the disease.

St. Francis County, which borders Crittenden, had the second most cases in Northeast Arkansas with 63, but no deaths. Craighead County’s total rose to 40 confirmed cases with only a single death reported.

Craighead County and surrounding counties have largely reported low numbers of cases. But, the peak in the region’s largest city, Jonesboro, isn’t expected until the end of April or early May and officials are fearful hospitals could be taxed with patients. Arkansas Continued Care Hospital (ACCH) announced Thursday it has doubled its patient bed capacity. Doing so will allow ACCH to better serve its partner hospitals – St. Bernards Medical Center, NEA Baptist Hospital and other area health care providers – as an ICU overflow solution.

“Many communities are exploring options to create or retrofit health care facilities in response to COVID-19,” said Jonesboro Mayor Harrold Perrin. “The announcement that ACCH has expanded its bed capacity to admit and care for additional ICU patients will provide much needed support for our community as we prepare for the possibility of more positive COVID-19 cases in Jonesboro.”

ACCH is a community-focused, long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) that specializes in vent-weaning and respiratory therapy. The average length of stay of a person in a LTACH is approximately 25 days. LTACHs use a multidisciplinary team approach to meet the individual needs of patients. The hospital received authorization from the Arkansas Department of Health’s Health Facility Services division to double its bed capacity from 44 to 89 LTACH beds.

“At ACCH, we are well-equipped with the technology and staff to serve ICU patients during this uncertain time,” said ACCH CEO, Vince Gore. “As an LTAC hospital, ACCH specializes in a variety of complex ICU treatments for patients who require more recovery time and daily physician visits. We’re proud to serve our fellow hospitals as an extension of their ICU and provide optimal care for our community.”