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WATCH: Gov. Hutchinson says state’s ICU beds are “full”

Live at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24
Average age of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 since Nov. 2020
Average age of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 since Nov. 2020
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 9:00 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 12:59 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - “Our ICU beds for COVID patients are full in Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday during his weekly COVID-19 briefing. “Everybody should know the strain this has on our hospitals and the need to get our vaccinations and how critical our bed space is.”

While the number of beds fluctuates day by day, he said due to the increased number of COVID patients who need that type of specialized ICU care “those beds are full right now.”

The governor said the state’s hospitals are “trying to bring some additional [beds] online, but that is a cautionary note for everyone and should emphasize the need to get our vaccinations.”

To those considering treating themselves with an over-the-counter livestock deworming medicine, the governor urged caution.

“The Arkansas Department of Health will posting an advisory on ivermectin,” he said.

The governor admitted he had never heard of the medication until he went to one of his community COVID conversations and the topic was broached.

“Since then, it has become a thing out there on social media,” he said.

So much so, that the governor said the Arkansas Poison Center in Little Rock has received an increasing number of calls about adverse consequences regarding the medication.

“The drug is intended for veterinary use,” Hutchinson said. “And can be highly toxic in humans.”

The Department of Health advises people to never take any medication intended to treat animals.

As for the booster shots, Gov. Hutchinson said Sept. 20 would be the earliest date the vaccines would be available.

The booster will apply to those who received their 2nd dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine 8 months prior to that date. Not everyone will be eligible because antibody levels have not fallen far enough to be boosted at that time, he said.

Since school started two weeks ago, 300 students and staff have gotten COVID in Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key says it’s expected.

“However, the good news is that we have not seen any districts that have had to make any modifications to their on-site instruction,” said Key.

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