KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — An increase in Covid-19 outbreaks has led to a rise in deaths, the number of severely ill patients, and active cases in Malaysia.
The number of deaths reported due to Covid-19 alone last week (April 18-24) was 56, an increase of 14.3 per cent compared to the previous week (April 11-17), in which 49 fatalities were reported.
Based on a report that the Ministry of Health (MOH) provided to CodeBlue, the average intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation rate by Covid-19 patients increased by 20 per cent from an average of 205 cases during the 15th epidemiological week of the year (April 11-17) to 246 cases in the 16th epidemiological week (April 18-24).
Covid-19 patients requiring ventilation rose by 26.2 per cent from 84 on an average in Week 15 to 106 in Week 16.
MOH has observed a trend of increasing number of deaths for the past one month since Week 12 (March 21-27) while the number of patients in the ICU and requiring ventilation has also gone up for the past five weeks.
Due to the rising number of sick patients, an anonymous source at Sibu Hospital, confirmed by the hospital director, told CodeBlue that the Sarawak facility is forced to step down care for severely sick Covid-19 patients with poor prognosis to accommodate new cases in the full ICU.
Besides that, MOH also observed a rise in the trend of weekly new Covid-19 cases over the past four weeks since Week 12 (March 21-27). Weekly new Covid-19 cases reported increased by 26.6 per cent from 13,742 cases in Week 15 (April 11-17) to 17,393 cases in Week 16 (April 18-24).
This has led to a 26 per cent increase in the number of average active Covid-19 cases in Week 16 compared to Week 15. Malaysia had 22,926 active Covid-19 cases under surveillance as of April 24, representing 5.9 per cent of 390,252 cumulative cases in the country.
According to MOH, Covid-19 testing was increased by 20.7 per cent from Week 15 (April 11-17) to Week 16 (April 18-24). Week 16 saw 461,332 tests conducted, at an average of 65,905 tests a day. The tests comprise both RT-PCR and antigen rapid test kits; people who have tested positive on the antigen RTK are usually re-tested with PCR to confirm Covid-19 diagnosis.
The weekly test positive rate increased slightly from 3.6 per cent in Week 15 to 3.8 per cent in Week 16. Malaysia’s weekly test positive rate fell from 5.8 per cent in Week 7 (February 14-20) to 2.6 per cent in Week 12 (March 21-27), before rising again. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum 5 per cent positive rate (share of tests that are positive) for at least two weeks before countries consider reopening.
Last week, a total of 68 new clusters were reported, 6.3 per cent higher than the 64 new clusters reported the previous week. Active clusters rose slightly by 1.4 per cent from 347 in Week 15 (April 11-17) to 352 in Week 16 (April 18-24).
The 68 new Covid-19 clusters comprised 22 workplace-related clusters, 22 educational clusters, 20 community clusters, three religious clusters, and one detention centre cluster.
The number of educational clusters increased by 83.3 per cent from 12 clusters in Week 15 to 22 clusters in Week 16. A total of 15 educational centres comprising schools, universities, training institutes are currently under the implementation of an enhanced movement control order (EMCO).
Workplace clusters, however, saw a decrease of 26.7 per cent from 30 clusters in Week 15 to 22 clusters in Week 16.
The infectivity rate (Rt) levels as of April 24 was the highest in Kelantan (1.24), which means that the infection is spreading rapidly, followed by Pahang (1.15) and Selangor (1.14).