LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health released new data Tuesday afternoon showing that there are now 12 COVID ICU beds available statewide.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says that the state is in the process of using relief funds to add additional beds and provide funding for staffing in hospitals as numbers rise.

ORIGINAL STORY – There is only one COVID ICU bed available in the state Tuesday morning with five hospitals showing limited bed space for COVID patients.

“We have nowhere to send COVID-19 patients within the State of Arkansas. There is limited bed capacity at trauma centers increasing pressure on the time-sensitive healthcare system,” said Jeff Tabor, program director for the COVIDComm system, which helps match covid-19 patients with hospitals.

Tabor said the one COVID ICU bed which is available is located in southern Arkansas. There are five hospitals, also in southern Arkansas, showing limited COVID bed space.

Tabor said some COVID-19 patients are so critical at rural Arkansas hospitals that they cannot be transferred to other hospitals because the patient is too critical and because of bed space.

“It’s been a slow-moving train to this situation over the last couple of days,” said Tabor, noting that hospital capacity is affecting all Arkansas hospital systems.

Tabor said that with less staff and fewer beds the situation has become “the perfect storm.”