Unvaccinated patients dying at much higher rate than those vaccinated in Northeast Arkansas

by George Jared ([email protected]) 2,388 views 

As the COVID-19 omicron variant washes over Northeast Arkansas, the largest medical provider in the region, St. Bernards, has released information about patients that is crystal clear – the pandemic is rapidly becoming one for those who have not been vaccinated.

During the last week, six people have died from the virus at St. Bernards Medical Center and all were unvaccinated, according to information released by the hospital. Another five are on ventilators while another 12 are in the ICU unit and none are vaccinated. There are 74 total patients at the hospital infected with COVID and being treated. About 70% are unvaccinated.

“The best way to avoid the hospital for yourself and your loved ones is through a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, including booster doses for eligible persons. None of our current ICU patients have ever been vaccinated against COVID-19, and nearly 70% of our overall patients with the virus have not either,” St. Bernards said in a released statement.

The other major healthcare provider in the area, NEA Baptist, reported 54 patients hospitalized and 13 patients in the ICU. Both healthcare centers are at capacity in terms of the number of patients being treated.

Craighead County remains in the grips of a deep virus surge fueled by the omicron variant. The county has 3,432 active cases, and 261 people have died from the disease, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Crittenden County has 1,175 active cases and at least 190 deaths.

Greene County has 724 active cases and 136 reported deaths. Mississippi County has 788 active cases and 159 reported deaths. Poinsett County, which was recently hit with major tornado damage, has 518 active cases with 106 reported deaths.

St. Bernards will host two dedicated COVID vaccine booster clinics this week and next for healthcare workers and the general public. These clinics will take place within the St. Bernards Medical Center “Community Room,” accessible through the hospital’s main entrance. The first clinic will be held Friday (Jan. 7) and the second one will be held Jan. 14.