KOTA KINABALU – The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Hospital Queen Elizabeth II (HQE II) here is continuing with its operations although two nurses of the hospital have contracted COVID-19, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said one nurse was confirmed COVID-19 positive after undergoing symptomatic screening on Oct 6, following which work place screening using RTK Antigen and RT-PCR was conducted on 92 medical officers and nurses of the hospital Oct 10.
“From the screenings, another nurse who is a close contact of the index case was found to be COVID-19 positive while other medical personnel were found negative on both RTK Antigen and PCR. At the moment, 40 of 66 nurses are under home quarantine.
“The ICU services of HQE II are operating as usual but the number of patients has been reduced from eight to six. All the patients in the ICU were confirmed to be free from COVID-19,” he said in a statement on his official Facebook page yesterday.
A news portal recently quoted unnamed sources as alleging that the hospital’s ICU operation had been crippled after a nurse was found positive for COVID-19.
Dr Noor Hisham said the source of the latest infection was being investigated, but the majority of infections among healthcare workers in the state so far had originated from the community and spread from one healthcare worker to another.
He said since the outbreak of the pandemic until Oct 10, 579 medical and healthcare personnel of the Health Ministry and 198 staff in Sabah had been infected with COVID-19, with this month registering a high of 85 cases compared to 66 last month.
He said all healthcare and medical workers have been advised to wear the suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) when on duty and to observe the standard operating procedure (SOP) at work and also while out in the community.
“Compliance with clinical practice guidelines and infection control measures is very important for prevention. Narrow work spaces and the workplace pantry should always be kept clean to prevent the spread of infection at the work place.
“The war against COVID-19 clearly comes with risk of infection and will affect healthcare workers if we do not abide by disease control practices. We have to look after ourselves,” he added.