RT-PCR Testing Drops To 34% Amid Coronavirus Surge

By CodeBlue | 13 October 2020

MOH reported 660 new Covid-19 cases, six clusters, and four deaths (all in Sabah) today on Oct 13.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Health authorities have decreased Covid-19 testing amid soaring coronavirus infections, utilising just 34 per cent of total nationwide RT-PCR testing capacity yesterday from 51 per cent on October 7.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 563 new Covid-19 cases nationwide yesterday on October 12, compared to 489 infections on October 7.

“The maximum capacity for yesterday’s tests was 41,254 and we managed to conduct 14,085 Covid-19 tests, 34 per cent. The capacity of three laboratories in Sabah is maximum 2,500 and yesterday they managed to conduct 2,101 tests which is equivalent to 84 per cent,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a virtual press conference today.

Dr Noor Hisham earlier stated that Malaysia used 51 per cent of its daily 41,354 RT-PCR testing capacity on October 7, testing 20,985 samples. This rose to 21,748 samples tested with RT-PCR on October 8, according to an MOH graphic.

Dr Noor Hisham also mentioned that so far, a total of 276,051 coronavirus rapid antigen tests have been conducted, including 4,314 tests yesterday. This marked an increase from 3,863 rapid antigen tests conducted on October 8.

A total of 2,022 cases have been tested positive with Covid-19 by this test since the outbreak began in Malaysia in January.

Daily Covid-19 RT-PCR (blue) and rapid antigen tests (orange) conducted in Malaysia from September 1, 2020 to October 8, 2020. Graphic by the Ministry of Health.

He also highlighted that projected Covid-19 cases in a public health intervention, such as lockdowns, require enough time to obtain the latest data before deciding on something.

“For a public health intervention, we need some time to see possible developments within a week before we get the latest data to make projections. MOH will closely monitor the situation and inform from time to time and discuss the latest development with the National Security Council (NSC).

Dr Noor Hisham also cited the previous success of the movement restriction orders, which helped to reduce Covid-19 cases in the country.

“So we hope that with the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), we can balance between lives and livelihood.”

Federal authorities have implemented a CMCO in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Putrajaya — which limits movements within a district in the Klang Valley generally to work, buying necessities, and emergency and medical needs — from October 14 to 27. Restaurant dine-ins and outdoor jogging and non-contact sports are permitted.

Dr Noor Hisham also emphasised that the ministry has sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) in each hospital and MOH is constantly monitoring to deliver PPE to hospitals which require them.

CodeBlue earlier reported that the hospitals and frontliners in Sabah struggle to cope with over 100 coronavirus cases entering the public health care system every day, with understaffed hospitals, fatigued health care workers labouring 24/7 as their colleagues contract coronavirus, and limited supply of protective gear stocks.

660 New Covid-19 Cases, Six New Clusters And Four Casualties

MOH reported 660 new Covid-19 cases today, comprising 658 local transmissions and two imported cases from India and Nepal.

That brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country to 16,880. Currently, Malaysia has a total of 5,345 active Covid-19 cases, including 101 patients in the intensive care unit, with 32 of them on ventilator support.

Six new coronavirus clusters were reported today: Sabah (four clusters), Selangor (one cluster) and Penang (one cluster)

The newly identified Semarak cluster was reported in Tawau. The index patient (Patient 12,200) in this cluster was tested with Covid-19 through a symptomatic screening on October 3. Following that, a close contact screening was conducted and 13 more individuals were identified with the coronavirus.

Secondly, the Bina cluster, which was identified in Beaufort, Sabah, registered 14 Covid-19 cases so far. The index cases (Patient 15,575) tested positive in a hospital admission screening in Sipitang Hospital on October 10.

Another new cluster in Sabah, the Sabindo cluster, was identified in Tawau. On October 3, the index patient (Patient 11,897) positively tested with the coronavirus in a symptomatic screening. A close contact screening revealed another 13 Covid-19 patients under this cluster.

The Bestari cluster in Sandakan, Sabah, was first identified when the index patient (Patient 14,830) tested positive on October 10 in a symptomatic screening. So far, a total of 19 Covid-19 patients have been identified under this cluster.

Next, Hulu Langat’s Bah Kenangan cluster in Selangor has registered 18 Covid-19 cases so far. The index patient (Patient 11,802), who tested positive on October 2, had travel history to Sabah.

Finally, the Jawi prison cluster in South Seberang Perai, Penang, recorded three positive cases so far. Three detainees in this cluster have been positively identified previously as a result of admission screening from the Northeast Remand Prison on October 11, 2020. All of them did not show any symptoms.

Covid-19 cases today were reported in Sabah (443 cases), Selangor (76 cases), Kedah (60 cases), Penang (23 cases), Labuan (18 cases), Perak (16 cases), Johor (10 cases), Kuala Lumpur (nine cases), Negeri Sembilan (two cases), and Pahang (one case).

Malaysia recorded four Covid-19 deaths today — all from Sabah. Two of them, aged 83 and 83 — had high blood pressure, dyslipidemia (cholesterol or fat in blood) and diabetes. A 36-year-old woman who died today had been receiving treatment for tuberculosis, whereas a 59-year-old victim had chronic kidney disease.

The four new deaths increased the total Covid-19 fatalities in the country to 163.

A total of 350 individuals have recovered today, bringing the total number of recoveries to 11,372 cases.

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