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Thursday, April 30, 2020

No plans to shut down Sarawak General Hospital, says health director

Sarawak General Hospital has taken all possible measures, including disinfection, to ensure safety of patients and reduce the possibility of transmission of Covid-19.
KUCHING: Health workers from the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) who tested positive for Covid-19 are being closely monitored, state health director Dr Chin Zin Hing said today.
State disaster management committee chairman Douglas Uggah Embas had revealed on Friday that 50 health officers in Kuching had been tested positive for the virus.
As of yesterday, the number of health workers infected with the virus had increased to 54.
Most of the infected were from the Good News Fellowship Church conference cluster while others were from smaller groups.
The infections among the health workers were reported over a month and 60% of them had already been discharged from the hospital, Chin said.
“Not all of the health workers at SGH are infected with the virus and we’ve taken necessary steps to prevent any subsequent infections from happening,” he added.
“Currently, we are not considering shutting down the hospital because we are still serving patients.”
Chin said this following a letter by a “Concerned Citizen” that went viral on social media calling for SGH to be locked down due to the positive cases among the healthcare workers reported there.
Chin said among the steps taken to prevent the spread of the virus at SGH were to strengthen the infection control practices among its health workers such as the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) and observing social distancing strictly.
“We have designated teams of medical staff in charge of specific wards at the hospitals and we’ll also re-organise their working shifts,” he said.
Active case detection will also be done among health workers, he added.
“We will also do screening tests on all patients admitted to hospital and conduct regular disinfection work inside the lifts, ATM machines and other parts of the hospital,” he said, adding that face masks were also compulsory for all patients.
Uggah urged the public not to spread fake news, especially on SGH, which was doing great work treating patients.
“SGH is not only meant for treating Covid-19 patients but also for other patients.”
Uggah also said the state government had spent RM10 million for the purchase of various medical equipment and received donations from various corporate bodies.
“The Sarawak Health Department had also purchased PPE worth RM7 million and these are expected to arrive next month,” he said, adding that hotel accommodation and food were also provided for all medical frontliners in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Uggah said active case detection for Covid-19 at Taman Desa Ilmu in Kota Samarahan had been extended by another three days as health workers had only covered 20% of the houses there. The exercise began on Tuesday and was to end today.
Kuching and Kota Samarahan had been classified as Covid-19 red zones with more than 40 positive cases detected in these areas.
Uggah said 2,288 houses had been visited throughout the operation over the past two days and 820 houses were found locked.
“A total of 221 individuals had been asked to undergo medical tests and 124 people had been screened,” he said, adding that 97 people who had close contacts with positive cases had yet to be screened.
He also said all test samples would be processed in Sarawak for faster results.
Uggah said Sarawak had recorded one more death due to the virus, taking the total to 17 so far.
The victim was a 72-year-old local man from Kampung Tabuan Lot in Kuching who started showing symptoms on April 13.
The patient had come to the Sarawak Heart Centre for a test on April 16 and was tested positive for the virus on April 18. He did not have any history of contacts with other positive cases.
Uggah said five new positive cases from Kuching were reported today. - FMT

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