Increase in Covid-19 cases can overwhelm facilities

KOTA BHARU – The Kelantan Health Department expects the capacity of existing health facilities in the state to last for only up to two months if the number of COVID-19 positive cases continues with the increasing trend, said its director, Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin.

Expressing his concern, he said, it could happen with the surge in COVID-19 positive cases of more than 100 cases in Kelantan every day lately.

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He said the Health Ministry also found that the Rt – an indicator of how fast COVID-19 is spreading, or R-naught (R0) in Kelantan was now at 1.26, which exceeded the national Rt of 1.14.

“If the case in Kelantan continues to show an increase with a three digit number, we are worried that the infection is on the rise and will result in the health facilities that we have not being able to accommodate the number of patients,” he added.

He told reporters this when met at the Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia’s (YADIM) Peduli Tautan Kasih PKRC Kelantan Muasaadah COVID-19 programme here today.

According to him, eight hospitals in the state are now being used to treat COVID-19 patients, apart from four Quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centres (PKRC), which are at Dewan Jubli Perak, Pusat Tarbiah Islamiah Kelantan, Kolej Kejururawatan Kota Bharu and Dewan Sivik Gua Musang.

Dr Zaini said among the strategies taken by the department at the moment to ensure adequate facilities in the fight against COVID-19 at this time is to implement the Home Surveillance Order (HSO).

“For individuals without symptoms who tested positive for COVID-19 and are not at risk, such as children and non-senior citizens, namely those in category one and two, they will be placed under HSO, where they will be monitored by us and contacted everyday.

“Until now, a total of 145 people are undergoing HSO and we are also identifying several places, including the halls, to be opened as PKRC, if necessary, as currently there are 257 patients PKRCs in Kelantan,” he added.

On the number of health staff, Dr Zaini said the number is sufficient based on the current needs of patients at PKRC and also hospitals in Kelantan.

“Alhamdulilah, we have enough staff and can also help other districts and states that need help. If there is a need here, we will call back those who are outside (the state), but for now everything is still under control,” he added.

Spike in workplace clusters worrying

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah meanwhile has expressed concern over the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 clusters involving workplaces.

He said from Jan 6 until yesterday, a total of 350 new clusters were reported and 225 or 64.3 per cent out of them were linked to workplaces.

“Manufacturing-related clusters recorded the highest number of clusters with 80 clusters, followed by construction-related cluster with 53 clusters and service-related cluster with 31 clusters,” he said in a statement on the development of COVID-19 today.

Dr Noor Hisham said during the same period, 112,225 people had been screened, of which, 28,477 cases were confirmed COVID-19 positive from the clusters.

Therefore, he urged all employers and their employees to work hand in hand in assisting the ministry to contain the COVID-19 transmission at workplaces by always adhering to the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said employers were responsible to provide conducive residential areas for their employees and ensure that they always practise infection prevention measures including temperature and symptoms checks prior to entering their workplaces.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, employees must also avoid gathering in confined places, and observe physical distancing at all time.

“Therefore, please adhere to all stipulated regulations and SOPs so that the risk of transmission among the people can be reduced.