Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Baptist Health adding COVID ICU beds, searching for nurses


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As each day passes more people filter in through the doors of Baptist Health and fewer are being discharged.

Baptist Hospital said they plan to add 18 ICU beds by Friday with 10 going to North Little Rock and 8 going to Fort Smith. 

Hospital officials said they’ve got the equipment for the beds and now they just need to find nurses to staff them. 

Greg Crain, President of Metro Region, Baptist Health, said that major hospitals across Arkansas are now scrambling to try and get more beds.

“It is an urgent time,” Crain said, “I don’t know of any more dire time in the state the need for critical care in my 27 years than right now.” 

But before they can put patients in beds, they have to get the right number of staff.

“None of us want to be in a hospital bed where there’s nobody there,” Crain said, “Those 18 beds are dependent on that staff showing up.” 

Baptist said they are pretty confident the nurses and doctors they have reached out to will show up on time. 

These additional 18 ICU beds also come after the hospital added just over 150 beds for non- ICU COVID patients. 

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