A different kind of battle


Shields up: Doctors gearing up and getting mentally and physically prepared at Penang Hospital. — Photo credit to Docs on Vacay Facebook page

GEORGE TOWN: Many healthcare workers at the Penang Hospital are battling to keep their sanity and staying healthy.The hospital’s infectious disease unit head Datuk Dr Chow Ting Soo said everyone was experiencing a different level of stress.

“The situation is quite critical with the rising cases. The heavy workload is taking a toll on everyone,” she said.

She added that some healthcare workers had to be quarantined after being exposed for too long to Covid-19.

“The number of healthcare personnel is also not sufficient and the rising cases has made things even more difficult. We’re at a critical juncture,” she said when contacted.

However, Dr Chow asserted that the staff would not give up the battle against Covid-19 until the pandemic was over.

“Honestly, some of us are experiencing burnout. But as frontliners, we are willing to do whatever is necessary to get through this pandemic together,” she said.

She spoke of the need to get the vaccination rate up to more than 80% of the Penang population.

(As of Monday, almost 861,000 people or 63% of the adult population in Penang had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.)

In view of variants of concern, especially Delta, Dr Chow said the public must get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“What we need to know is that vaccines do not 100% prevent against infections, but it will really reduce the severity of the disease.

“Even after vaccination, everyone should continue to adhere to the SOP (standard operating procedure) to help contain the spread of the virus,” she said.

With the coronavirus now in the community, Dr Chow advised the public to get themselves tested at the nearest clinic or use the self-test kits, if they feel unwell.

“If unwell, do not take it lightly, especially if you’re staying with your family. Seek treatment at a nearby clinic or hospital immediately,” she said.

It is every person’s responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones, she added.

Yesterday, Penang recorded 1,776 infections.

The highest number was recorded on Aug 26 when there were 2,078 cases.

In Kedah, all intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state’s hospitals were completely occupied despite a reduced number of cases in the past few days.

Kedah Health director Dr Othman Warijo said since Sept 5, the department had ramped up its vaccination exercise, including accepting walk-ins at all vaccination centres (PPV) in the state.

He said those who missed their second dose appointment or had not received a date yet, could go to any PPV in Kedah.

“This is based on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on the availability of the vaccine supply,” he said.

There are 19 public PPV and four hospital PPV in Kedah.

Yesterday, the state recorded 1,487 infections.

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