Sarawak Hits 78% Covid-19 ICU Bed Capacity

By CodeBlue | 29 April 2021

Sibu Hospital is treating more than half of Sarawak’s Covid-19 ICU patients at 32 of 62 cases statewide.

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — The bed occupancy rate in Covid-19 intensive care units (ICU) in Sarawak hospitals have reached 77.5 per cent, with 62 patients in 80 beds.

According to Sarawak’s State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), Sibu Hospital is treating more than half of the state’s Covid-19 patients in ICU at 32 of 62 cases statewide as of yesterday. There are currently 18 intubated Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital, about 56 per cent of 32 intubated coronavirus cases in Sarawak.

According to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, Sarawak hospitals have 155 ICU beds for both Covid-19 and non-coronavirus patients, including 80 designated for Covid-19 cases.

He told a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has allocated RM9.18 million to Sibu Hospital to purchase medical equipment to add 13 ICU beds.

The funding will cover the purchase of 13 ventilators; 13 patient monitors; five high-flow nasal cannula, an oxygen therapy; three syringe pumps; 21 infusion pumps; two non-invasive ventilators; and two ultrasound machines, among others.

“Besides that, Sibu Hospital also received a contribution of five ventilators from Saudi Arabia,” said Dr Adham.

CodeBlue reported that Sibu Hospital had 30 ICU beds allocated for Covid-19 patients as of last Friday, which is now at over-capacity with 32 critical coronavirus cases. The public facility has been forced to step down severely sick Covid-19 patients with poor prognosis from critical care, after 28 days when they’re no longer infectious, by transferring them to other wards.

Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), the state’s main public hospital located in Kuching with seven ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, reported seven Covid-19 cases in ICU as of yesterday. According to SDMC’s report, SGH currently has two intubated Covid-19 patients.

Dr Adham announced that MOH would allocate RM7.7 million for SGH to procure additional medical equipment, including 22 ventilators, 16 patient monitors, 15 ultrasound machines, and 14 powered air purifying respirators (PAPR).

CodeBlue reported Monday that SGH’s Covid-19 ICU and wards are now full, even as the hospital will be converting five beds for severe acute respiratory infection cases in ICU to Covid-19 beds to make a total of 12 Covid-19 ICU beds.

Dr Adham’s announcement about the extra RM16.88 million allocations for Sibu Hospital and SGH came after CodeBlue highlighted the situation in both MOH hospitals.

The health minister also revealed yesterday an average 68 per cent bed occupancy rate in 914 beds across eight hospitals in Sarawak treating Covid-19, without specifying rates for individual facilities.

The 38 Covid-19 low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC), including three detention centre PKRCs, have 6,523 beds, with the current bed occupancy rate at 56 per cent.

Sarawak has 206 ventilators, including 30 for Covid-19 patients, out of which 15 per cent are currently used, said Dr Adham.

He said 143 and 377 health care workers from within and outside Sarawak respectively have been mobilised to help with the state’s growing Covid-19 outbreak. They include medical officers, nurses, and medical assistants.

Sarawak, which is combating a surge of Covid-19 cases, had 5,646 active Covid-19 cases under surveillance as of yesterday, 18 per cent of which are in Sibu Hospital and its PKRCs with 1,014 active cases.

Yesterday, Sarawak reported 416 new Covid-19 cases, with the fourth highest incidence rate in the country at about 15 cases per 100,000 population, higher than the nationwide rate of 10 cases per 100,000 population. Sarawak also reported six Covid-19 deaths yesterday, including three brought-in-dead cases aged 30 years, 37 years, and 52 years, all men.

Sibu’s active case count was the second highest in Sarawak behind 1,369 active Covid-19 cases in Bintulu Hospital. Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching, the state capital, had the third highest number of active cases at 951.

According to SDMC’s report, Sibu recorded 88, or more than half, of the state’s 171 total Covid-19 deaths as of yesterday. Sibu also comprised nearly a third, or 20 cases, of Sarawak’s 62 non-coronavirus fatalities recorded throughout the Covid-19 epidemic.

Sibu reported 1,270 new Covid-19 cases in the past fortnight, the second highest in Sarawak behind Bintulu’s 1,526 fresh infections. Kuching came in third with 993 new coronavirus cases in the past 14 days.

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