KOTA TINGGI: The Health Ministry is prepared to open up all its 118 training institutes nationwide as Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres should cases continue to escalate.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said so far, 36 training institutes in government hospitals with 3,467 beds had been reopened and gazetted by the National Security Council to treat low-risk Covid-19 cases.“There are some 907 patients in these 36 facilities. This means that we have used some 26% of our total bed capacity.
“These facilities were closed after we managed to flatten the curve (the first time). But we are prepared to reopen them if necessary – just like how we opened up the temporary hospital at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) in Serdang, ” he told reporters after a Covid-19 community event in Desaru yesterday.
Only patients with moderate symptoms or critical cases would be sent to hospitals, said Dr Adham.
“We have 40 hospitals gazetted as Covid-19 treatment hospitals such as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau Hospital.
“These hospitals are equipped with personal protective equipment for frontliners, as well as ventilators and other facilities, ” he said.
The ministry, added Dr Adham, was collecting about 16,000 to 20,000 Covid-19 samples each day following the spike of infections in several states.
“We have 58 labs in the country, with the capacity to test up to 39,000 samples, ” he said, adding that about 20 million people had also registered to use the contact tracing app, MySejahtera, with one billion check-ins recorded nationwide.
In Selangor, it was reported that hospitals in the state had been ordered to be on standby to receive non-Covid-19 patients following the increase in cases. This comes as the status for Hospital Sungai Buloh, the country’s main Covid-19 medical treatment facility, is being changed from a “hybrid Covid-19 hospital” to “a full Covid-19 hospital” in anticipation of an influx in the number of patients.
An online portal reported that a letter from Selangor health director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman had reminded all hospitals in the state to be prepared to take in non-Covid-19 patients from Hospital Sungai Buloh.“We hope you will cooperate to ensure clinical services are not affected and operate smoothly, ” Dr Sha’ari was quoted as saying.
Hospital Sungai Buloh was designated a Covid-19 hospital in March when the first wave hit the nation.
Selangor Task Force For Covid-19 head Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the health authorities were merely taking preparatory steps in anticipation of an escalation in the number of cases.
“This is more of an administrative matter and a standard operating procedure to decant non-Covid-19 patients from Hospital Sungai Buloh to nearby hospitals.
“This will provide more space and facilities at Hospital Sungai Buloh, ” said the former health minister. Dr Dzulkefly said a similar move was carried out earlier this year during the country’s first Covid-19 wave.“At that time, we even requested some private hospitals to take in patients aimed at freeing up more space in Hospital Sungai Buloh for Covid-19 cases.
“Let’s hope we don’t come to that, ” he said, adding that the health authorities were currently better prepared to handle Covid-19.On Saturday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that there were 40 hospitals and 34 centres for low-risk Covid-19 quarantine and treatment, with a capacity of 5,674 beds.
There are also 437 intensive care unit beds and 1,505 ventilators available, with the current utilisation rate of beds in Covid-19 hospitals at 24%.