In Baxter County, where the hospital is, fewer than a third of residents are fully vaccinated — below both the state and the national averages. Even fewer people are protected in surrounding counties that the hospital serves.
“It’s absolutely flooded,” said Dr. Rebecca Martin, a pulmonologist, as she made the rounds of 2 West one morning last week.
In the first half of June, the hospital averaged only one or two Covid-19 patients a day. On Thursday, 22 of the unit’s 32 beds were filled with coronavirus patients. Five more were in intensive care. In a single week, the number of Covid patients had jumped by one-third.