KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today attributed high patient loads at Sungai Buloh Hospital due to referrals of Covid-19 cases to the Klang Valley’s only facility designated to solely treat coronavirus patients.
Selangor state health director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman explained that hospitals throughout the Klang Valley have been diverting sick Covid-19 patients to Sungai Buloh Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) so that ICUs in other facilities can treat non-Covid cases.
As of today, Sungai Buloh Hospital’s 54-bed ICU has recorded a 96 per cent bed occupancy rate.
“To prepare for an increase of Covid-19 cases requiring admission to Sungai Buloh Hospital, the oxygen gas system at the National Leprosy Control Centre has been improved to accommodate Covid-19 cases, besides helping to reduce the burden on Sungai Buloh Hospital,” Dr Sha’ari said in a statement.
“Besides that, Sungai Buloh Hospital will also be supported by other hospitals in the Klang Valley if needed to accommodate needs for Covid-19 hospital or ICU admission.”
Hybrid Covid-19 hospitals in Selangor that treat both the coronavirus and non-Covid cases are Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang Hospital, Selayang Hospital, and Ampang Hospital.
Non-Covid hospitals include Shah Alam Hospital and all district hospitals in Selangor, except their emergency departments that still accept Covid-19 cases.
Dr Sha’ari said as of today, a 92 per cent bed occupancy rate was recorded for 1,286 non-critical Covid-19 beds in Selangor.
Eighty per cent of 203 ICU beds, including repurposed ICUs, in Selangor are currently occupied by both Covid-19 and non-Covid patients. Dr Sha’ari did not provide the bed occupancy rate for actual ICUs, excluding repurposed ICUs.
There are currently 86 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in ICU in Selangor, comprising 42 per cent of the state’s ICU capacity.
MOH’s explanation was issued after a Sungai Buloh Hospital medical practitioner, Dr Azfar Kamal, tweeted Tuesday that the facility was expecting a new Covid-19 wave next month and that Sungai Buloh Hospital’s active wards and ICU were full.
He also tweeted later that he had been “ordered” to delete his tweet, but did not specify which parties had instructed him to do so.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s communications director, Ismail Amsyar, denied allegations by a medical officer called Dr Nafis Ammar that the instruction came from the minister’s office.