S'wak to increase testing capacity to treat Covid-19 patients in more hospitals


KUCHING: Sarawak plans to increase its capacity to treat Covid-19 patients in more hospitals, as well as its testing capacity, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the state proposed to upgrade the facilities at seven district hospitals to be able to treat Covid-19 patients.

At present, there are four designated Covid-19 hospitals in the state - the Sarawak General Hospital here, Sibu Hospital, Bintulu Hospital and Miri Hospital.

"Looking at the situation in Sabah, one problem they face is the lack of hospital facilities.

"Learning from that, we have put forward a request to the National Security Council (NSC) to upgrade the capacity of hospitals in Bau, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Kapit and Limbang so that they can treat Covid-19 patients," he told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly during question time on Tuesday (Nov 10).

Uggah also said the state planned to increase its testing capacity to 5,000 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rT-PCR) tests a day and to speed up the results.

He said the state's current capacity was 2,400 tests a day, with results sometimes taking two to three days.

"We have given the KPI (key performance indicator) to the state Health Department to get the results at most within 24 hours, and if possible within 12 hours," he said.

In addition, he said the state government had approved funds to set up a Covid-19 test lab in Limbang Hospital.

At present, samples from Limbang and Lawas are sent to Miri Hospital for testing, with results taking up to four or five days.

"The lab will have a capacity of 200 tests a day once it's ready," Uggah said.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the state proposed to upgrade the facilities at seven district hospitals to be able to treat Covid-19 patients.

At present, there are four designated Covid-19 hospitals in the state - the Sarawak General Hospital here, Sibu Hospital, Bintulu Hospital and Miri Hospital.

"Looking at the situation in Sabah, one problem they face is the lack of hospital facilities.

"Learning from that, we have put forward a request to the National Security Council (NSC) to upgrade the capacity of hospitals in Bau, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Kapit and Limbang so that they can treat Covid-19 patients," he told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly during question time on Tuesday (Nov 10).

Uggah also said the state planned to increase its testing capacity to 5,000 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rT-PCR) tests a day and to speed up the results.

He said the state's current capacity was 2,400 tests a day, with results sometimes taking two to three days.

"We have given the KPI (key performance indicator) to the state Health Department to get the results at most within 24 hours, and if possible within 12 hours," he said.

In addition, he said the state government had approved funds to set up a Covid-19 test lab in Limbang Hospital.

At present, samples from Limbang and Lawas are sent to Miri Hospital for testing, with results taking up to four or five days.

"The lab will have a capacity of 200 tests a day once it's ready," Uggah said.

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