KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — As Sabah battles soaring coronavirus cases, the state now allows early-stage Covid-19 patients to be treated at home, breaking away from standard federal protocol of admitting everyone who tests positive into a government facility.
Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Masidi Manjun today told a press conference reporting on Sabah’s daily cases that this is one of the few strategies that public hospitals have taken to manage the rising number of Covid-19 infections in Sabah that currently has over 5,600 active cases.
“If the symptoms are manageable, normally they will be advised to stay at home and treatment will be done at home,” Masidi said.
“So, that will save them from going to the quarantine centre and treatment centre. The whole idea is that we only want to make sure they will not infect other members.”
He said that these Covid-19 patients are first screened and the hospital will then decide if they can be allowed to get treated at home. Those who stay alone, or two Covid-19 patients living together, who can quarantine themselves, are allowed home treatment.
Countries like India and Italy, which have reported nearly 7.7 million and 450,000 Covid-19 cases respectively as of today, have allowed their low-risk patients to be treated at home. Among the guidelines set by the Indian government include a communication link between the caregiver and hospital for the entire duration of home isolation. Besides that, the caregiver and all close contacts of such cases will have to take the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, as prevention, as per protocol.
However, Masidi, during his press conference, did not mention guidelines for patients who are allowed to be treated at home.
Based on the federal Ministry of Health’s (MOH) management protocol for Covid-19 cases, all laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases must be admitted to hospital, except for positive cases from the low-risk group — who do not have Covid-19 symptoms or only experience mild symptoms — who can be admitted directly to low-risk Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres upon discussion with the relevant physician.
MOH protocol does not list any guideline for home treatment of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Furthermore, Masidi said that Sabah hospitals have enough bed capacity for Covid-19 patients, although they are currently at maximum usage.
He said that this is because of the strategy used by the state health department to admit those who are in stage one and two of Covid-19 into low-risk quarantine and treatment centres to give space to those who need hospital admission.
The state minister also said Sabah currently has 6,653 backlogged Covid-19 test samples.
Today, Sabah reported 578 positive Covid-19 cases, an increase from yesterday’s 535 cases. Out of the 578 cases, Kota Kinabalu recorded the highest number of cases in the state with 233 cases.
“Kota Kinabalu district recorded the highest number of cases which is 233 cases because of the number of cases from the Kepayan Prison cluster which was 156 cases.”
There are currently 5,624 active cases in Sabah and today, Malaysia’s poorest state reported four out of the five nation’s Covid-19 fatalities.
Masidi said that the high number of deaths in Sabah were seen among those who are at high-risk for developing severe disease from Covid-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions. A total of 63 people in Sabah have died from Covid-19 since the beginning of the month.
However, it was noted that out of the four fatalities reported today, three of them were not reported to have any underlying medical conditions.