Masidi Admits Sabah Frontliners ‘Stretched To The Limit’, But Can Still Cope

The five Sabah coronavirus fatalities reported today included a 71-year-old Malaysian woman who had breast cancer and stroke.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Masidi Manjun acknowledged today that the state’s medical frontliners are fatigued as they battle a continuous surge of Covid-19 cases.

Sabah reported 535 new Covid-19 cases today, comprising 73 per cent of 732 infections nationwide, as well as five deaths from coronavirus.

“For the moment, while obviously our frontliners are stretched to the limit, but they can still cope up with the work,” Masidi told a virtual press conference held via Google Meet on Sabah’s Covid-19 report today.

Previously, CodeBlue reported that government health care workers were forced to work extra hours, sometimes continuously more than 24 hours, to compensate for the shortage of manpower when some of the frontliners themselves contracted the coronavirus and were quarantined.

On October 10, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that two nurses working in the intensive care unit (ICU) in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, who tested positive with Covid-19, led to more than half of the ICU team to be quarantined. He also said 85 health care workers in Sabah contracted coronavirus in 10 days since the start of October.

Masidi said today that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has recruited volunteers to help with the Covid-19 outbreak in Sabah.

“The response from the public, the volunteers have been extremely good,” he said, while hoping that their presence will help in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak in Sabah.

According to Masidi, Lahad Datu recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases (115 cases) today in Sabah because of backlogged test results that were just received.

Currently, Sabah has a total of 5,513 active Covid-19 cases, which accounts for 70 per cent of the nation’s active Covid-19 cases.

Five out of six Covid-19 deaths were reported in Sabah today: three in Duchess of Kent Hospital, Sandakan; one in Semporna Hospital; one in Queen Elizabeth Hospital; and one case in Labuan Hospital. The youngest death case reported today in Duchess of Kent Hospital, Sandakan was a 27-year-old male foreigner, with no underlying medical conditions. The sixth death was reported in Labuan.

Today’s coronavirus fatalities also included a 71-year-old Malaysian woman from Sabah who had breast cancer and stroke. Sabah has recorded 55 Covid-19 deaths in 14 days since October 8, including the five fatalities reported today.

A medical officer told CodeBlue that many residents of Sabah sought late treatment for Covid-19, especially undocumented migrants, because of the cost of treatment, while some Malaysians sought late treatment due to transportation issues. Seeking care late in the disease stage often leads to worse outcomes.

Covid-19 National Highlights

Of the 732 coronavirus cases reported nationwide today, including 724 local transmissions, 535 were reported in Sabah, followed by Selangor (114 cases), Kuala Lumpur (20 cases), Penang (12 cases), Negri Sembilan (nine cases), Labuan (nine cases), Kedah (seven cases), Perak (seven cases), Putrajaya (six cases), Melaka (three cases), Kelantan (one case), and Pahang (one case).

A total of 102 Covid-19 patients are in ICU, including 31 on ventilator support. Active Covid-19 cases nationwide total 7,827. The nation’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 199 fatalities.

MOH also said more RT-PCR tests are able to be done in Sabah labs, besides some being sent to the peninsula for processing. Additional antigen rapid tests are also being conducted on the field. MOH did not provide specific testing numbers.

Eight new clusters were reported today nationwide: two in Kudat, Sabah; one in Kota Kinabalu and Penampang, Sabah; one in Hulu Langat, Selangor, Titiwangsa, Lembah Pantai, and Kepong in Kuala Lumpur; one in Petaling, Selangor, and Tampin, Negeri Sembilan; one in Sepang, Selangor, and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; one in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur, and Klang, Selangor; and one in Labuan.

Five of the clusters were discovered through symptomatic screening of the index cases (ie: the person first discovered with the virus), one cluster from a targeted screening of fishery workers in Kudat, and one from a hospital admission screening in Labuan.

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