KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Covid-19 deaths, new infections, active cases, intensive care unit (ICU) patients, and ventilator usage rates in Malaysia all increased last week in a growing surge of the virus.
According to a report by the Ministry of Health (MOH), between April 25 and May 1 (Epidemiological Week 17), Malaysia reported 95 Covid-19 deaths, with an average of 14 deaths per day.
This is a 69.6 per cent increase in the number of deaths compared to Week 16 (April 18-24) with 56 fatalities. MOH has been observing a pattern of increase in the number of Covid-19 fatalities for the past five weeks.
Meanwhile, as of May 1, there were 337 Covid-19 patients in ICU. This was a 25.2 per cent increase in Week 17 as compared to Week 16 (April 18-24).
MOH has also been observing a pattern of increase in the number of ICU cases over the past six weeks since Week 11 (March 14-20).
On an average, 147 Covid-19 ICU cases required ventilation for Week 17, a 38.7 per cent increase compared to Week 16 (April 18-24).
Malaysia’s active coronavirus cases reached 29,631 as of May 1, with average active cases rising by 24.4 per cent in Week 17 compared to Week 16.
Last week, Malaysia recorded 21,342 positive Covid-19 cases with an average of 3,049 cases per day. This was an increase of 22.7 per cent compared to Week 16, a pattern of increase which has been observed for the past five weeks since Week 12 (March 21-27).
While Covid-19 cases have been increasing, the number of Covid-19 tests conducted have increased by 4.2 per cent in Week 17 compared to Week 16, as a total of 480,688 new tests were conducted last week.
The test positivity rate (or share of tests that are positive) for Week 17 was 4.4 per cent, an increase from Week 16 which was 3.8 per cent.
Last week, a total of 86 new clusters were recorded, a 26.5 per cent increase compared to Week 16 (68 clusters).
A total of 29.1 per cent of the clusters were from the community, 27.9 per cent were educational clusters, 27.8 per cent workplace clusters, 8.1 per cent religious clusters, 3.5 per cent detention centres, and 3.5 per cent from high-risk groups.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, at a press conference on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) earlier today, said that almost 800 MOH staff have been sent to Sarawak to help with the outbreak in the country’s largest state.
MOH has also internally deployed their staff to handle the rising Covid-19 cases in Kelantan.
Kelantan and Sarawak recorded the country’s highest Covid-19 incidence rates at 166.36 and 136.71 cases per 100,000 population respectively in the week of April 23 to 29, exceeding the nationwide rate of 61.89 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The health minister also said that MOH has received approval to increase 11,000 staff in all disciplines in MOH to increase their overall manpower.
Dr Adham announced that MOH will be building field hospitals to accommodate non-Covid-19 patients in Sarawak and Kelantan, following the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
“We have already discussed with the Ministry of Defence, so that they can build a hospital there to place non-critical patients,” Dr Adham said during the press conference.
“This is so that the burden of the hospitals that have been affected due to rising Covid-19 cases can be reduced, and as a whole, enable beds for critical patients to be increased.”
Dr Adham said last week that several Kelantan hospitals have reached or exceeded bed capacity for Covid-19 patients, forcing care to be stepped down for less severe cases, where moderate (Stage Three) coronavirus cases will be transferred to low-risk quarantine and treatment centres.