DG: Sabah still has capacity to treat patients

PUTRAJAYA: The Sabah healthcare system is not on the brink of collapse as it still has the capacity to treat Covid-19 patients, says Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).

He said he couldn’t understand why there was a negative perception of the situation in Sabah, noting that the facts and figures were different than what was perceived.

“It’s not true that the health system in Sabah is collapsing, but we admit it is more difficult and more challenging.

“However, we are more prepared this time then before in terms of human resource, facilities, PPE (personal protective equipment) and others. We started preparations much earlier by sending our human resource from the ministry and from other states to assist Sabah, ” he said during his daily press conference yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham clarified that currently with the total of 5,713 beds available in the state, only 33% of them was being used, although initially the bed occupancy was high at 70% to 80%.

He added that 69% of 128 beds in the intensive care units were only being utilised while 33% of 193 ventilator support was being used.

“We are also exploring more space in the nine (designated Covid-19) hospitals so that we can convert the space into ICU spaces whereby we can treat more stage 4 patients.”

On Oct 22, Borneo Post reported that Sabah’s hospital beds were 99.5% full, adding that its state government was also forced to decide on who is to be admitted.

Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that more PPEs, ventilators and beds have been sent to Sabah to accommodate the growing number of cases, adding that emergency procurement for the state has also been done.

What is more important right now, he said, is for “better coordination” in the state, where the ministry works closely with the police, army, National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and other government agencies.

“This is what we need in Sabah. Hopefully, the coordination in the state is enhanced further, then we can win this war. We have not lost the war yet, neither have we won it, ” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham estimated that it would take another four weeks before the virus would be able to be contained in Sabah.

The country hit a new record high of 1,240 new Covid-19 cases as of yesterday, with 927 cases from Sabah due to the positive cases detected in the Kepayan prison (439 cases) as well as more active case detection being conducted in the state.

In the Klang Valley, Dr Noor Hisham said 194 cases were detected, of which 120 cases came from new and existing clusters.

There were also three new clusters detected in the country – Perak, Negri Sembilan and Sabah.

Dr Noor Hisham noted that there were two imported cases recorded, bringing the total infections in the country to 27,805 with 9,744 active cases in the country.

“There are 94 Covid-19 cases being treated in ICUs, with 31 cases requiring ventilator support, ” he said, adding that 691 patients were discharged, bringing the total cumulative number to 17,825.

He also said seven deaths were recorded, bringing the total death toll to 236 cases.

With the majority of the recent Covid-19 deaths coming from Sabah, Dr Noor Hisham said this was because most were mainly elderly patients who probably had lower immunity, and those who had other diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Separately, Dr Noor Hisham said his attendance at Istana Negara was to share with the Rulers about the ministry’s actions in combating the pandemic since December last year to date.

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