LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The U.S. Defense Department is sending a 20-member military medical team to Arkansas to help expand the state’s hospital capacity in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday.
Hutchinson said the team of 14 nurses, four physicians and two respiratory therapists would be sent to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock.
“This is welcome assistance that will come,” Hutchinson said at his weekly news conference.
Arkansas reported 2,181 new COVID-19 cases and 34 more COVID-19 deaths, but COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 19 to 1,209.
The military team is arriving as the state expects a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations after Labor Day. Arkansas ranks 13th nationally in new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University research data.
There were 497 COVID-19 patients under intensive care and 320 on ventilators around the state Wednesday. That left only 23 ICU beds available in the state, though it was unclear how many of those were equipped for COVID-19 patients.