Severe Covid-19 Cases Five Times Higher In Third Wave: MOH

Category three to five cases now comprise an estimated 20% of daily Covid-19 infections in Malaysia, says the Health DG.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Severe Covid-19 cases have multiplied by five times to comprise 15 per cent of daily infections during the third wave of the Malaysian epidemic compared to the second wave.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, during his press conference today, said that category four and five patients comprise 15 per cent of daily Covid-19 cases currently, unlike during the second wave of the epidemic whereby these severe cases comprised only two to three per cent of daily cases.

“15 per cent is very high. If we plus category three, maybe estimated 20 per cent. So, if we have 3,000 patients that are detected positive with Covid-19, 20 per cent from 3,000 is 600 cases that will be admitted to the hospital,” the health director-general said. 

“Hospitals we will allocate to treat category three, four, and five cases.”

Category three Covid-19 patients are symptomatic and have pneumonia, category four patients have pneumonia and require supplemental oxygen, while category five patients are critically ill with multiple organs affected. Categories four and five are clinically defined as severe Covid-19 disease.

Dr Noor Hisham said that only category two patients with mild symptoms will be admitted to low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC), while those who are asymptomatic will be asked to isolate at home upon evaluating if their houses are suitable for home quarantine. 

The Health director-general also pointed out that the number of Covid-19 patients who are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and requiring ventilation have also increased. 

As of today, there are 238 patients being treated in the ICU while 96 of them are on ventilator support. According to University Malaya’s Covid-19 dashboard, there are 871 ICU beds available for Covid-19 patients which means currently, 27.3 per cent of ICU beds are occupied. 

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the current R0 (pronounced as R-naught) value is 1.16. However, based on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) projection, if the R0 value increases to 1.2, by the third week of February, the projected daily cases will be 5,000 and the daily cases will be up to 8,000 by the third week of March.

However, the MOH projection did not specify if it has taken into account the Movement Control Order (MCO) that has been implemented throughout the country, except for some districts in Sarawak. 

The R0 value tells the average number of people who will contract the coronavirus from a person who is infected with the disease. 

Dr Noor Hisham also announced that 14 hospitals in Johor, Kedah, Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sabah, and Sarawak have been newly designated as Covid-19 hospitals. 

National Covid-19 Highlights 

A total of 3,631 positive Covid-19 cases have been reported today, bringing the cumulative cases to 165,371. 

Over the past one month, the average daily Covid-19 cases have increased by 112.4 per cent, from an average daily of 1,604 cases between December 23 till December 29, to an average of 3,405 between January 13 and January 19. 

This means that over the past one week, on average, MOH has been reporting 3,405 Covid-19 cases daily.  

Selangor reported 33 per cent of the total daily cases today (1,199), among which, 73.7 per cent (884 cases) were from clusters and screening of close contacts. 

The death toll has increased to 619 as 14 new deaths were reported today.

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