Treat Patients With Cough, Cold, Pneumonia As Covid-19 Until Proven Otherwise: DG

A dozen public health care workers were infected with coronavirus when treating people with pneumonia, or severe acute respiratory infections.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today urged health care professionals to treat people coming in with cough, cold, and pneumonia-like symptoms as coronavirus patients until proven otherwise.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that 12 public health care workers were infected with Covid-19 when they were treating people with pneumonia, or severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), who had not yet been confirmed as coronavirus cases.

“Now we tell all our health care workers, to those coming with cough and cold, for example, or with symptoms or signs of pneumonia, you must treat them as Covid patients until proven otherwise, although you do not have the investigation yet,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.

“Our health care workers must take all necessary precautions to avoid infection.”

Paediatrician Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, in a tweet earlier today, urged MOH to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to all health care professionals, as he shared images of PPE seemingly being tailored by health care workers.

Doctors’ and dentists’ groups complained last month about a shortage of PPE, like face masks, for health care professionals in the private sector. Private general practitioners (GPs) provide primary care for respiratory ailments like cough and cold, among other conditions, while private dentists say they are exposed to Covid-19 infection from aerosol-generating dental procedures.

Coronavirus is a respiratory disease with common symptoms like fever, dry cough, tiredness, as well as shortness of breath, sore throat, aches and pains, or — for very few people — diarrhoea, nausea, or a runny nose, according to the World Health Organization.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said last Wednesday that the government’s special monthly RM600 Covid-19 allowance should be extended to emergency workers, after a doctor from a Sarawak government hospital alleged that Emergency and Trauma Department (ETD) staff were not considered part of the coronavirus team, despite seeing all SARI patients.

Dr Noor Hisham also revealed today that 70 per cent of the 47,723 Covid-19 tests done over the past couple of weeks, or 35,792 tests, were first-time tests for diagnosis. The remaining 30 per cent was repeated tests for Covid-19 patients treated in hospitals as they need to be tested repeatedly before they can be discharged upon recovery.

MOH reported 150 new Covid-19 cases today, as well as four new fatalities. The total number of coronavirus infections in Malaysia is now 3,483 cases, while total deaths are 57.

A total of 99 Covid-19 patients are treated at the intensive care unit (ICU), of which 50 were on ventilator support.

Participants of the tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling mosque here last month accounted for about 44.4 per cent of the total 3,483 Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, or 1,545 patients, according to the Health DG.

The 54th victim (Patient 2,149) was an 85-year-old Malaysian woman with a history of heart disease, who was treated at Institut Jantung Negara here before passing on March 28.

The 55th victim (Patient 860) was a 66-year-old Malaysian woman who had high blood pressure. She was treated in Kelantan and died on April 3.

The 56th victim (Patient 2,850) was a 56-year-old Malaysian man who had a history of heart disease. He had close contact with Patient 1,031 and died in Sarawak on April 3.

The 57th victim (Patient 1,575) was a 61-year-old Malaysian man who had diabetes. He died in Kuantan, Pahang, on March 23.

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