PUTRAJAYA: Although daily Covid-19 figures have shown a decreasing trend after Malaysia implemented a lockdown, the number of cases in intensive care units (ICU) have shown no improvement.
In his daily Covid-19 statement, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the number of ICU admissions started increasing from the 17th epidemiology week (April 25 to May 1).
“This upward trend has continued into the 23rd epidemiology week, from June 6 to June 12, where the number of ICU cases stayed high.
“The number of ICU bed usage has exceeded 100%,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
“Despite the decreasing trend of Covid-19 cases shown after two weeks of a national lockdown, the number of ICU cases remained unaffected,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
Among the reasons, he said, is caused by the emergence of various new variants that have caused patients in critical condition to deteriorate at a faster rate.
“This situation has resulted in more patients requiring ventilator assistance, especially the vulnerable such as the elderly and those with comorbidities.
“The overcapacity situation with ICU beds is worrying, as not all patients who require critical care can be placed in ICUs.
“The usage of ICU beds reached overcapacity because patients require a longer time to recover.
“Patients under Category 4 usually take 14 to 16 days to be treated, while Category 5 patients require about 19 to 26 days,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said among the actions taken by the Health Ministry include increasing the number of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients to 11,598.
The number of beds at Covid-19 quarantine centres (PKRC) has also been increased to 31,861.
Apart from that, beds at normal wards have been repurposed into beds for treating critical Covid-19 patients.
The ministry has also reached out to the higher education ministry to use university hospitals, as well as 112 private hospitals to utilise their facilities.
“We have also set up field hospitals with the help of the armed forces. To date, six field hospitals have been established,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He called on the public to continue practising new norms and Covid-19 preventive measures so that efforts of the Health Ministry to combat the pandemic are “not in vain”.