‘Sarawak General Hospital still has room for patients’

The Covid-19 low-risk quarantine and treatment centre set up at the hostels of the Youth and Sports Complex in Kuching.- ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: The Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and quarantine centre here still has room for Covid-19 patients despite rising admissions over the past month, says Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The state Local Government and Housing Minister said the average bed occupancy in SGH’s Covid ward was about 74% in epidemic week 16 from April 19 to 25, which saw an average of 69 admissions per day.

In the same period, occupancy of ventilated beds in critical care for Covid-19 and high-risk severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases and patients under investigation (PUI) averaged 81% while the low-risk quarantine and treatment centre had 79% average occupancy.

“This means there is still room for optimal care for such cases, ” he said when contacted.

Dr Sim, who oversees public health, noted that SGH recorded a significant increase in Covid-19 cases during the past month, including a steep surge from 250 cases to 481 cases two weeks ago.

He urged the public to keep adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to break the chain of infection.

In Kota Kinabalu, efforts are being made to ease congestion at hospitals and quarantine centres reaching full capacity in Sabah’s east coast amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The state health department took action to resolve the problem of the three nearly full quarantine centres and hospital beds being fully used, said Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“Things are looking up, but we are not out of the woods yet, ” he said when contacted.

State health authorities had to reopen the army field hospital and the low-risk quarantine centre two weeks ago.

The field hospital and quarantine centre were closed for some time before the sudden spike in cases in Tawau.

Masidi said specialists from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu as well as doctors and nurses from other districts have been deployed to Tawau to assist the hospital.

“State health authorities can no longer depend on staff from outside Sabah, as other states are struggling too, ” he explained.

The low-risk quarantine centre had to be reopened to take in those not needing hospital care, as health authorities did not want them kept under home quarantine because of concerns over compliance with rules, he added.

There has been growing concern over rising cases in Sabah’s east coast district that borders Indonesia’s Kalimantan.

Two days ago, local leader Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan sounded the alarm that medical facilities were being overstretched.

Nizam, who is state Assistant Finance Minister and Apas assemblyman, said the district hospital was full and the three quarantine centres with capacities of about 600 people each were nearly full ever since positive cases began to climb from April 3.

Tawau Health Department officer G. Navindran urged people in the district to observe the standard operating procedure (SOP) and said he felt that many people were not taking the threat seriously.

He also noted that those who had come into direct contact with positive patients or who experienced symptoms were coming in very late for their swab tests.

Tawau district as well as neighbouring Lahad Datu and Sandakan are under the movement control order, while the rest of Sabah went under the conditional MCO yesterday.

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