Arkansas doctors, nurses pushed to breaking point by COVID

The Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday reported 1,984 new cases for a total of 388,436 since the pandemic began

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Some doctors and nurses in Arkansas say they are dealing with burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder after more than a year of battling the coronavirus pandemic, including a new wave of cases with younger patients. 

Dr. Kathy Parnell, an internal medicine specialist at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette she has cried every single day the past week because she is losing young patients. 

“It’s just so different than the first time, just the young people, and they’re not responding to the treatments that we know,” Parnell said. 

COVID-19 cases continued to spread across Arkansas, due in part to the more contagious delta variant. Hospitals have continued to fill up with patients as the state’s vaccination rate remained one of the lowest in the country.

Public health officials say nearly 100% of deaths since January could have been avoided with vaccinations, the newspaper reported. 

“This current surge is the worst mass casualty event I have ever seen in my 30+ year career that includes being a physician in the U.S. Army for many years before entering civilian practice,” Dr. Gregory “Scott” Harrington, a physician at Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock, said in a Facebook post. 

The Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday reported 1,984 new cases for a total of 388,436 since the pandemic began. State health officials also reported 1,139 people hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 34 from Saturday.

“The vaccine numbers are up from last week. If you have concerns about the vaccine, please speak with those you trust to get the facts. The vaccine is saving lives,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a tweet on Sunday. 

Hutchinson has been on a statewide tour promoting the coronavirus vaccine. On Sunday, vaccinations in Arkansas increased by 7,149.

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