‘Rise in Covid-19 cases no cause for panic’

THE number of Covid-19 cases recorded by hospitals over the past week stood at 2,970 with 42 fatalities, putting the average death rate at six per day, according to the Department of Disease Control.

Opas Karnkawinpong, the department’s director-general, said the rise coincides with the prediction that the number of Covid cases and fatalities would rise as a result of greater interaction over the Songkran holiday and the reopening of schools.

He said that each day of the last week saw an average of 423 cases. Of the total figure of 2,970, 425 people have been diagnosed with pneumonitis, while 253 required tracheal intubation.

Deaths, however, are lower than the previous week when some 60 were recorded.

Opas said that the 608 group, who mostly contract the disease through members of the family who go outside for work, accounts for the majority of fatalities.

Patients who fall into the 608 groups comprise those who are over 60 of age, have one or more chronic diseases, and are pregnant.

He said that the majority of sufferers have either not been vaccinated or have received insufficient doses.

Opas urged those at risk to get booster shots and cautioned those with symptoms of Covid to stay away from their older relatives or wear masks if contact cannot be avoided.

The public appears to be alarmed at the possibility of another outbreak. Last Friday, Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital announced on its Facebook that it was unable to take any more Covid patients due to a lack of available beds.

The intensive care unit (ICU) and inpatient department (IPD) have no open beds for Covid-19 patients, the hospital said

Dr Nithipat Chiarakun, Associate Professor at Siriraj Hospital, said earlier that people are now less aware of Covid, which has contributed to the rise in cases.

He added that the newer Omicron variants could spread quickly since the virus is potent when a person’s immunity is compromised.

However, the Department of Medical Services has recently reaffirmed that it could handle this situation, saying that hospitals under its supervision still have sufficient capacity to accommodate more Covid 19 patients.

Its Director-General Dr Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn reported that just over 22% of the hospital beds are now occupied. — The Nation/ANN

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