Sarawak General Hospital Seeks To Control Staff Covid-19 Infections

SGH is tightening infection control practices, says the Sarawak State Health Department.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) has taken various measures to control Covid-19 infections among health care workers that reached 56 as of today, health authorities announced.

Sarawak State Health Department director Dr Chin Zin Hing also said the over 50 Covid-19 cases among the public hospital staff had happened over a one-month period, averaging at about 1.5 to two new infections daily.

“It’s not that the whole hospital health care workers are affected,” Dr Chin told a press conference in Kuching.

The federal Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a separate press conference in Putrajaya that two new Covid-19 cases were detected in SGH today, leading to a total of 56 confirmed infections among health care workers at the hospital. A total of 35 have been discharged from hospital after recovering from the disease.

A health care worker from SGH, who claimed to be working at the ground level, wrote to CodeBlue about how “countless” health care workers had tested positive for Covid-19 and brought down at least 10 more coworkers due to quarantine”.

Another anonymous person previously posted a letter to The Malaysian Insight, claiming that the first few SGH staff to test positive had reportedly been exposed to the first Covid-19 victim who died in the MOH hospital end last month. 

Dr Chin maintained today that the main government hospital in the Sarawak state capital would not be shut down, “but we’ll make sure there’ll be no infection”.

He said SGH was tightening monitoring of strict infection control practices, like hand hygiene; social distancing, including in staff pantries and wards; and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and face shields with surgical masks for all staff in all clinical areas.

The MOH hospital will also do Covid-19 screening for all patients admitted.

SGH has also designated staff teams to specific wards to avoid mixing the team with patients from other patients or other wards. Staff working hours will be re-organised to full and partial shifts.

“And we’ll do the strengthening to enhance environmental sanitation, including regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces like lifts, ATM machines, the ward surfaces and so on,” Dr Chin said.

Face masks will be provided to all patients at SGH, regardless if they display coronavirus symptoms or not, as well as health care workers in charge of them. 

Data entry management will be enhanced to ensure if SGH staff have been screened for Covid-19, along with their test results. 

“Lastly, we will do active case detection among health care workers. We’ll screen them to make sure that we’ll pick up any cases among them. If they have the disease, we’ll quarantine them, put them under treatment and so on.”

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said at the same press conference that the Sarawak State Health Department has spent RM10 million on PPE that is expected to arrive early next month. The state government has also provided hotel accommodation for Covid-19 frontliners.

“Dr Chin has nothing else to do but try to convince the public that SGH has its own SOP (standard operating procedure) to protect the frontliners,” Uggah said. 

“It’s not only Covid, there are other patients too. So he is also convincing them that it is safe to get treatment there.”

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