Sabah’s Sick Covid-19 Patients Straining Hospital Capacity

About nine of 10 hospital beds in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which treats complicated Covid-19 cases, are full, according to Masidi Manjun.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Sabah’s coronavirus outbreak is still not under control, months after a September state election, as ill Covid-19 patients have almost filled up hospital beds.

Sabah Covid-19 spokesperson Masidi Manjun revealed that the bed occupancy rate in Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kota Kinabalu, a referral hospital for complicated Covid-19 cases, reached 89 to 92 per cent in the past five days.

QEH’s bed occupancy rate differs from the overall Covid-19 bed occupancy rate across Sabah, as the state reported 30.84 per cent bed occupancy rate as of January 4.

“This difference is due to the status of Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a referral hospital for Covid-19 patients with higher risk of complications,” Masidi told the press yesterday.

The Sabah state local government and housing minister was responding to a question by Sin Chew Daily that cited reports of patients being stuck for two to three days in the emergency department before they could be placed in QEH’s main ward, asking if this meant QEH lacked beds for Covid-19 patients.

According to Masidi, the total bed capacity in Covid-19 hospitals in Sabah is 957 beds, whereas 5,537 beds have been prepared in low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC). Of the total 6,494 beds throughout Sabah, 35.57 per cent were occupied with Covid-19 patients as of yesterday.

A total of 2,310 active Covid-19 patients are still receiving treatment in Sabah, including 1,642 patients in PKRC. The 668 patients in hospitals include 60 patients in the intensive care unit, with 19 under ventilator support.

“In the last seven days in 2020, the reported Covid-19 cases in Sabah showed a bit of an increase, that is among the lowest of 157 cases and the highest of 299 cases in a day, with an average number of 232 cases a day,” Masidi added.

As of January 6, Sabah registered 38,960 total Covid-19 cases, including 405 new cases yesterday, and remains the state with the highest number of coronavirus infections in Malaysia.

The new Covid-19 cases in Sabah reported yesterday were identified largely through close contact screenings with 242 (59.8 per cent) cases.

The screenings from new and existing clusters have revealed 70 new cases (17.3 per cent), while 48 patients (11.9 per cent) were detected through symptomatic screenings. Another 45 cases (11.1 per cent) were sporadic cases in the state where the source of infection is yet to be identified.

Last year, a total of 5,142 children aged under 12 years in Sabah were detected with Covid-19. Of them, 2,152 were aged under five years, whereas 702 were infants aged below one year, said Masidi.

Sabah also reported four Covid-19 deaths last year that involved children. Among these children, two of them were babies aged below one year.

As of December 31, Kota Kinabalu district recorded 27 Covid-19 clusters, the highest in the state, followed by Tawau (20 clusters), and Sandakan (18 clusters). The Sabah capital of Kota Kinabalu had registered 9,535 total Covid-19 cases.

Sabah also recorded two new Covid-19 deaths yesterday among people aged 50 and 65. Both of them had underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) and gout.

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