LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas hospitals have been struggling to keep up with COVID, flu, and other viruses on the rise right now.
Now, we have new numbers showing just how serious this has become.
In the state, 287 people are currently in the hospital with flu. Of those, 65 are in the ICU.
This comes as hospitals struggle to meet the increase in patients. In the past two months, emergency rooms across Arkansas have become busier.
According to the Department of Health, in the past week, 2,000 more people have visited the emergency room compared to this time last month.
This time of year is already usually tough on hospitals, because of virus season— and this year sickness has been spreading rapidly.
The Department of Health said that these illnesses are "Very High" with ER visits skyrocketing and hospitals scrambling to keep up.
Dr. Randy Maddox with UAMS added that the hospital is at 100% occupancy.
"We are kind of in a catch here with the increased demand and the limited workforce," said Bo Ryall, CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association.
Ryall said that staffing has not recovered from the pandemic, leaving a significant need when treating patients.
"We are in contact with the Department of Health, and we work with them on bed capacity issues. We are trying to work through these and utilize parts of the state that are not seeing this surge right now," said Ryall.
Dr. Maddox added that if you can manage to treat yourself at home then you can avoid the long waits at the ER.
"If you're able to tolerate liquids: Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade alternate Tylenol and Motrin for the body aches and fever," said Dr. Maddox.
UAMS is up 11% in emergency room visits. CHI St. Vincent and Baptist Health have also seen more patients in the past week.