KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has given his assurance that the public healthcare system in Sabah is still functioning properly despite the onslaught of Covid-19 cases that has hit the state in recent weeks.
He acknowledged that it has been a challenge, but Sabah’s hospitals still have sufficient beds to treat the pandemic.
“Previously there were 2,566 beds, but now we have 4,822 beds to treat Covid-19. This includes 66 beds in Intensive Care Units,” Dr Noor Hisham said during a press conference.
He added that the ministry has also been granted allocation for 170 breathing assistance equipment in Sabah.
“The ministry has also added another facility to treat Covid-19, this being Hospital Kota Marudu. So far, there are seven hospitals in the state that can treat Covid-19 cases which are in Stages Three, Four, and Five of the pandemic.
“The seven hospitals to treat serious cases count 946 beds, and at present its capacity has been filled at 66 per cent. Six other quarantine and low-risk centres have also been identified by the ministry for patients in Stages One and Two,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
The centres consist of 3,874 beds, of which 22 per cent are currently filled. Similarly, the director-general said Sabah’s three laboratories for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing are capable of going through 2,500 samples daily.
“Several labs in the Peninsular are also helping Sabah’s labs to do testing, with the samples sent daily via flights and with assistance from the Armed Forces. Rapid test kit antigens are also being used to detect positive cases in hospitals and on the field.
“Non-Covid 19 related cases are still being treated as normal. As part of the cooperation between public and private facilities, the ministry will conduct outsourcing services to private hospitals and clinics in the state, especially for cases initially referred to the seven hospitals,” he said.
To cope with the rising number of cases in Sabah, Dr Noor Hisham said 483 ministry personnel have been mobilised to counter the development of Covid-19. This includes personnel already in Sabah, as well as those in the Peninsular.
“They include medical officers, specialists, assistant medical officers, nurses, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, microbiology technicians and scientists, assistant environmental officers, and assistant public officers.
“Their scope of duties will see them work in labs and on the field, as well as in hospitals and low-risk cum quarantine centres. They will also be placed in any operations rooms (bilik gerakan) which need the help,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also encouraged volunteers from the public to step forward and assist the ministry and other authorities in the fight against Covid-19.
“This is also for the Peninsular as well as cases are on the rise there. But as 75 per cent of the cases are in Sabah, there is a more desperate need for volunteers there.
“We have already moved various ministry staff there for better on-field coordination. There is no limit to the number of volunteers who can join as of yet, as we need to do early planning to offset the fatigue our frontliners are certainly experiencing,” he said.
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