Dr Noor Hisham: Military to help set up ‘Field ICU’ in Penang amid rise in Covid-19 cases

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Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during a media conference on Covid-19 development in Putrajaya, March 4, 2021. — Bernama pic
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during a media conference on Covid-19 development in Putrajaya, March 4, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) is in the midst of preparing field intensive care units (ICU) supplied by the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) to combat the rapidly increasing number of critical Covid-19 cases in Penang.

In a Facebook post, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there is an urgent need to implement field ICUs devoted to treating critical patients at the Kepala Batas Hospital as the number of Covid-19 ICU beds in use has reached over 100 per cent.

“MoH also found that patient admissions into ICUs in Penang have increased by more than 45 per cent over the past two weeks and that this trend is expected to continue especially when there are new clusters involving old folks homes and others,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that he managed to make an official visit to the Tuanku Mizan Army Hospital for a dry run of the field ICU, with delegates from MoH’s medical and engineering services divisions also present.

“The impending field ICU at Kepala Batas Hospital will use a modular concept, enabling it to treat up to 27 critically ill Covid-19 patients who are in need of respiratory assistance as well as other life support equipment such as dialysis machines for patients suffering kidney failure resulting from Covid-19 and infusion pumps to support heart functions,” he said.

He added that ATM will also set up modular laboratories and radiology units to provide clinical support to critically ill patients housed in the field ICUs.

“Hopefully all these efforts will assist MoH in ensuring the best treatment is given to critical Covid-19 patients in Kepala Batas and the surrounding areas, thereby reducing the death rate of Covid-19 in Malaysia,” he said.

On May 11, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the ICUs used to treat Covid-19 patients in government hospitals are full, adding that the occupancy rate for the state’s Covid-19 hospitals are increasing as cases continue to rise in the state.

He said cooperation from the people is important in reducing the spread of the virus especially by adhering to the SOPs during the movement control order (MCO).

He reminded the public to stay home as much as possible and only to go out if needed but to only do so in compliance with the SOPs.

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