‘Lack of raw data hampering efforts’


Petaling District Health Department personnel carrying out Covid-19 testing at Goodyear Court flats in Subang Jaya last week. — Filepic

The Selangor government needs raw data to fight the spread of Covid-19 in the state, effectively, ” says state health, welfare, women empowerment and family committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.

She said the state was currently not receiving any data from the Health Ministry or Federal Government on Covid-19 cases in Selangor.

“We do not get detailed information about Covid-19 positive patients and the information we get is from the daily press conferences and from the health department’s social media pages.

“The raw data that we ask for is not the patient’s name, address or identity card (IC) number but we want to know the locality.

“If we have information on where the patient possibly got infected, we can take preventive measures instead of just waiting to screen close contacts of positive patients, ” she explained.

Dr Siti Mariah was speaking in response to a question from Lim Yi Wei (PH-Kampung Tunku), who wanted to know the number of people screened by the state and the cost incurred so far.

Between March to April, 5,433 people in red zones were screened while between August and now, 912 people had been screened.

A sum of RM1.6mil was spent for the first batch of screening while for the second batch, RM1.36mil was allocated.

For the second batch, only RM537,882 was spent while the balance will be used for future community screening.

Dr Siti Mariah said the state planned to carry out testing for high-risk frontliners like the police, security guards, cleaning contractors as well as army and Rela personnel.

The state has also received requests from its health department on areas where Covid-19 testing should be done.

She said currently, the state was only alerted of a cluster or case from third-party sources instead of the Health Ministry.

“We need the data so that we know which neighbourhood or area has high number of cases.

“We received calls from residents in Desa Puteri Rawang asking us to implement enhanced movement control order (MCO) in their area because there were 33 cases and they were unable to control the movement of other residents there.”

However, she said upon checking with the health department, it was learnt that cases there were under control and there was no need for the enhanced MCO.

The Selangor government, nevertheless, carried out mass testing in the area. Out of the 500 residents screened, seven tested positive.

Dr Siti Mariah said the state was awaiting the Federal Government’s decision for its request to integrate the Selangkah and MySejahtera applications.

The integration, she explained, would enable the state to carry out tracing and preventive measures.

For example, she said, if a group of Covid-19-positive patients had visited the same shop or location, the state would be able to immediately take action against the said premises instead of just tracing close contacts, which was a longer process.

“We were told that we cannot have access to the raw data for Covid-19 because it might be wrongly interpreted and may cause panic among the public.

“So we just have to do the best with whatever information we get and find other ways to help fight Covid-19, ” she said when answering a supplementary question from R. Rajiv (PH-Bukit Gasing).

Earlier, Elizabeth Wong (PH-Bukit Lanjan) asked Dr Siti Mariah whether Covid-19 cases in the state could be reduced if the it had access to raw data from the Federal Government.

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state assembly , covid-19 , Selangor

   

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