Taking a load off Covid-19 Assessment Centres

PETALING JAYA: A new call centre will be set up by the Health Ministry to address the growing number of calls directed at Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CACs), says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said there had been increasing strain on CACs, which were designed to assess and manage patients who were undergoing home quarantine.

“There has been a 150% increase in Covid-19 patient arrivals at CACs, which surged from 4, 000 to 10, 000 a day on June 5, ” he said.

“The number of active cases being monitored by CACs has also increased by 108% from 5, 300 to 11, 000 a day.”

Dr Noor Hisham also said there was an increase in the number of cases being referred for hospitalisation (step-up care), from nine to 35 cases between May 23 and June 5.

He added that with the increased workload in such a short time, the phone lines at CACs were frequently busy.

He said the ministry was now in the process of setting up a call centre to help CACs to receive calls from symptomatic patients to be channelled to the suitable CAC, receive general enquiries concerning home quarantine and channel emergency calls to MERS 999.

“As a start, it will be implemented in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya due to the higher burden of cases (there).

“We will also be adding phone lines at 33 CACs in the three states to reduce traffic from callers, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said there were currently 198 CACs in the country, with each having a team comprising a family medicine specialist, a public health specialist, a medical officer, an assistant medical officer, nurses and an assistant environmental health officer.

He said CACs were set up to assess Covid-19 patients and to determine whether they were suitable to undergo quarantine at home or need to be admitted.

The number of new Covid-19 cases saw an increase after a brief dip to over 5, 000 for two days. New infections stood at 6, 239 yesterday while recoveries were at 7, 386.

Another 75 fatalities were recorded, pushing the death toll to 3, 611.

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