Covid-19 Hits Selayang Hospital Staff, Elective Surgeries Cancelled

By Ashswita Ravindran | 18 December 2020

Two operation theatre staff nurses at Selayang Hospital contracted Covid-19 after coming into contact with an infected surgical patient who tested negative on an antigen rapid test.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Covid-19 has infected a few health workers at Selayang Hospital, the third public hospital in Selangor to report coronavirus cases among hospital staff after Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah and Serdang Hospital.

About two operation theatre staff nurses from Selayang Hospital have contracted Covid-19 after coming into contact with an infected patient, according to an anonymous source who works at the government hospital.

The nurses tested positive for Covid-19 about two days ago. So far, no doctors from Selayang Hospital have tested positive with the coronavirus.

The same source told CodeBlue that RTK-Ag screening is done on all pre-operative emergency cases, but because it is not as sensitive as the gold standard RT-PCR, the coronavirus was not detected in the patient prior to surgery.

Before any surgery, as the patient is wheeled into the operation theatre, the nurses in charge will have to check their documents, vital signs, and consent. If a patient has no Covid-19 symptoms and tested negative with the initial RTK-Ag screening, nurses that attend to these patients wear only face masks most of the time.

However, if the patient is a person-under-investigation or a suspected acute respiratory infection patient, and has Covid-19 symptoms, full personal protective equipment will be worn while attending to them, even before the surgery.

The emergence of Covid-19 cases at Selayang Hospital’s operation theatre has led to the postponement of all elective surgeries at the Ministry of Health (MOH) facility, with the operation theatre only running emergency cases now.

CodeBlue tried to contact Selangor state health department director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman to get a confirmation on how many Selayang Hospital patients and staff contracted the virus, but CodeBlue did not get any response from him.

Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported an outbreak at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang (HTAR) involving at least 40 hospital staff and more than 50 inpatients, who were infected with Covid-19 over the past three weeks.

Dr Sha’ari then released a statement confirming that 50 health workers and an undisclosed number of patients at the Klang public hospital have contracted Covid-19. He claimed that the situation was under control and that management of patient treatment at HTAR was ongoing.

Today, Malaysiakini reported that at least a dozen staff, including nurses and specialists, and several patients at Serdang Hospital have been infected with Covid-19 this month, affecting the cardiology and cardiothoracic department at the government hospital.

The Covid-19 cases at Serdang Hospital were reportedly part of the Lestari cluster, with 42 confirmed infections to date, that is linked to a nursing home.

Selayang, HTAR, and Serdang are all Covid-19 screening hospitals under MOH, while all positive cases in Selangor — the current epicentre in Malaysia’s coronavirus epidemic — are brought to Sungai Buloh Hospital for treatment.

Selangor has been hit with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country. In just two weeks, the state reported 7,363 positive Covid-19 cases.

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