Home Breaking News As virus surges, visitor restrictions back at HMH

As virus surges, visitor restrictions back at HMH

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Howard Memorial Hospital is again taking steps to restrict visitors because of the surge in the Covid-19 Delta variant in Arkansas and nationwide. 

Only one visitor will be allowed with a patient until further notice, according to HMH. 

For more information, call 870-845-6941 to speak to the hospital’s infection preventionist.

“On average, the daily census for Covid-19 has been one to three patients,” hospital CEO Debra Wright said Monday afternoon. “The monoclonal antibody therapy is available at HMH, but demand has been low.”

Covid-19 patients “are admitted to our specially equipped negative pressure rooms located on the east wing of PCU [patient care unit]. High-flow oxygen delivery systems are available as well as ventilators, if needed,” Wright said.

Hospitals in Hot Springs, Little Rock and elsewhere around the state have reported shortages of beds because of the Covid surge. As a result, patient transfers are difficult, hospitals report.

“Facilitating transfers from the ED to an accepting facility has been adversely affected by the increase in Covid-19 admissions throughout the state, which does increase the length of stay in the ED,” Wright said.

A statement from HMH says the Delta variant spreads more than twice as readily as the coronavirus that initiated the global pandemic. Delta has “quickly become responsible for 50 percent of all Covid-19 infections nationwide,” the statement said.

Top symptoms of the Delta variant infection are headache, followed by runny nose and sore throat, while fever and cough were less common. 

Loss of smell was not among the top 10 symptoms.

The Arkansas Department of Health “urges health care providers and the public to be vigilant for the possibility of Delta virus infection. 

“Social distancing, wearing of masks and getting vaccinations are the primary means of preventing the spread of the virus.”

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