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Ten more Covid-19 PKRC will be opened if daily new cases continue to spike, says Sarawak Health Dept director

0 month ago, 29-Aug-2021

Sarawak Health Director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed at a press conference. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Aug 29): Ten more Covid-19 low-risk treatment and quarantine centres (PKRC) will be opened if the daily new cases in Sarawak continue to spike, said State Health Director Dato Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed.

In a press statement today, Dr Mohamed Sapian said that the 10 PKRC will comprise six previously closed down centres and four new centres.

“Currently, there are a total of 45 PKRC in Sarawak consisting of 41 public PKRC with 7,465 beds and four PKRC for detainees with 1,072 beds,” he said.

He added that 781 personnel have been stationed at all PKRCs but the increase of new cases might result in greater manpower needed.

“The setting up of these PKRCs is to provide the best services to the community in the state, with priority given to high-risk Covid-19 patients such as those with comorbidities.”

Dr Mohamed Sapian lamented that if the daily new cases continue to surge, the currently available manpower and health services may be crippled.

“This will result in measures such as isolating of patients and contact tracing to be badly affected. With higher daily cases detected, the number of close contacts and those requiring quarantine will also increase,” he said.

The increase in the number of close contacts to be tested will then place greater stress on existing laboratories to process the swab tests collected, resulting in the turnaround time for results to be made available longer, he added.

As a result, such situation will cause containment to be harder to be implemented because of the longer time needed for the swab tests results to be out.

Moreover, Dr Mohamed Sapian pointed out it has been 12 consecutive days that Sarawak reported four-digit new daily cases since Aug 18.

“In August, we recorded 35,517 new Covid-19 cases — an increase of about 224 per cent compared to July.”

He said the state today reported 2,522 new cases and a cumulative tally of 112,245 cases since the pandemic began.

As previously reported by the Institute of Health and Community Medicine of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) on Aug 28, Dr Mohamed Sapian said an additional 178 cases involving Delta variant were detected and it represented a detection rate of the variant at 83 per cent.

To date, the Delta variant, also known as SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has been detected in 10 divisions in the state. The detection of the variant in Kuching division is as high as 99 per cent.

Dr Mohamed Sapian explained the Delta variant was five to eight times more infectious than other variants and it was the main factor causing the high number of cases in Sarawak, particularly in the Southern Zone.

The Delta variant has the potential to be easily transmitted if an individual does not wear face mask, does not observe social distancing and does not practise proper personal hygiene.

He said that fortunately, the Covid-19 immunisation rate in Sarawak has reached 90.9 per cent for the first dose and 87.9 per cent for the second dose as of Aug 28.

Although immunisation has resulted in less likelihood of severe symptoms if a person is infected, it is important to note that 30 per cent of the daily cases involved children aged below 18 who have yet to be vaccinated.

For all the new cases detected in August, Dr Mohamed Sapian said 99 per cent of the cases were classified under Category One with no symptoms and Category Two with mild symptoms.

However, the usage of beds for critical treatments in the whole of the state has shown an increase in August but it still remains within the hospitals capacity to handle.

Also, the director said some divisions in the state had already entered Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan, with bigger workforce allowed to return to office and more economical sectors opening.

The decision for the divisions to enter Phase Three was to support the economy, community and the country that had been gravely affected by the pandemic, and to allow livelihood to continue in tandem with the improving Covid-19 situation on the ground.

He, however, said the State Health Department would like to remind the public to not take advantage of the relaxing of restrictions.

We still havent won the war against the Covid-19 coronavirus and an outbreak can still happen if precautionary measures are not observed at all times.

Dr Mohamed Sapian stressed that the public must act now, especially with Covid-19 transmitting in the community.

The Covid-19 virus will not spread in the community even if we face the Delta variant as long as we consistently observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs), including wearing face masks and observing social distancing.

Please remember that Covid-19 has taken away the lives of many family members and friends. Dont let ourselves or the people we love become the next victims.

Dr Mohamed Sapian said everyone in the community is capable of overcoming the current Covid-19 situation by learning to live with it and to shoulder the shared responsibility to break the chain of Covid-19 transmissions.

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