KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today instructed people who test positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate at home, amid expected delays in health workers sending them to hospital or a quarantine centre.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah maintained that MOH has not changed its policy in quarantining all positive coronavirus cases in a hospital or a low-risk quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC), despite surging Covid-19 cases, although he said MOH was considering home quarantine for asymptomatic and mild cases.
“There are a few criteria. First, we have to look at the suitability of homes. Secondly, we have to look at the health assessment tool and how health workers can monitor one’s health at home,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.
He added that MOH was also looking at the possibility of using workers’ hostels to quarantine infected workers in Selangor to reduce the load on the MAEPS facility, like what was done for the Teratai cluster in Selangor involving workers from Top Glove Corporation.
The Health DG also reported high occupancy rates in hospital beds and PKRC beds in Selangor at 81 per cent and 58 per cent respectively (there is only one treating Covid-19 hospital in Selangor: Sungai Buloh Hospital). The Klang Valley is the new Covid-19 epicentre, as Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have been reporting the majority of daily infections since the past two months.
The National Leprosy Control Centre (PKKN) in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, currently holds 543 Covid-19 patients with 645 beds available (84 per cent occupancy).
The Institut Latihan Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (ILKKM) Sungai Buloh in Selangor has a 71 per cent bed occupancy rate, with 1,918 Covid-19 patients and 2,700 available beds.
The bed occupancy rate in the MAEPS facility in Serdang, Selangor, for asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 cases among migrant workers is about 50 per cent, with 3,333 Covid-19 patients and 6,640 beds. MOH plans to increase beds in the MAEPS PKRC facility to 10,000.
As for Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) currently has 339 Covid-19 patients, with a bed occupancy rate of 52 per cent across 648 beds.
The Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur has 230 beds, with no Covid-19 patients there yet.
“Our policy remains the same — positive patients will be quarantined at PKRC or hospital,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
The Health DG noted, however, that the percentage of Covid-19 patients in the moderate to severe categories of Stages 3 to 5 in Malaysia has increased from 7 per cent to 11 per cent.
“89 to 90 per cent are still Categories 1 and 2 — asymptomatic or mild symptoms — our policy is to place them in PKRC,” he said.
“But there’s a delay in implementation to transfer them to hospital. It may take a day or two, or even longer because of increased workload, so we advise those who are detected positive to remain at home. Make sure you put on a mask and confine yourself at home. Try to isolate yourself from family members.”
He said the Covid-19 infectivity period stretched from three days before showing symptoms and seven days after; MOH currently treats or quarantines positive cases for 10 days in a hospital or PKRC.
“That’s our advice to those who are positive. Stay in touch with our district health department so we know where you are, and make sure you follow instructions. Remain at home until we pick you up from home to hospital.”
Dr Noor Hisham also said nationwide, half of hospital and PKRC beds are currently filled with Covid-19 patients. A total of 8,112 Covid-19 patients nationwide are in PKRC at a 37 per cent bed occupancy rate. A total of 184 Covid-19 patients are in ICU, with a 39 per cent bed occupancy rate.
He also revealed the available beds in hospitals, ICU, and PKRC, as well as ventilators nationwide:
- Hospital beds: 6,055
- PKRC beds: 22,145
- ICU beds: 474
- Ventilators: 1,581
National Covid-19 Highlights
MOH reported today 1,594 new Covid-19 cases nationwide, with active cases numbering at 20,643. Malaysia’s cumulative coronavirus infections have reached 106,690.
Three imported cases were reported among today’s 1,594 new infections. Selangor reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases today at 697 (or 43.7 per cent), followed by Kuala Lumpur’s 194 cases (12.2 per cent), and Johor’s 191 cases (12 per cent).
A total of 108 new Covid-19 cases reported today were related to clusters from lock-ups, immigration detention centres, and prisons.
There are 116 Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), including 53 on ventilator support. Three new deaths were reported today: two in Selangor and one in Sabah, pushing the death toll to 455 (or a 0.43 per cent case fatality rate).
Five new coronavirus clusters were reported today in Kuala Lumpur; Muar, Johor; Kota Bharu, Kelantan; and Putrajaya.