KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 – The Virtual Covid Assessment Centre (VCAC) feature on the MySejahtera app will continue to be used during the country’s transition to endemicity to enable immediate access to treatment for deteriorating Covid-19 cases who self-isolate at home, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
The health minister cited Ministry of Health (MOH) statistics that show an average 1 per cent of people with Covid-19 on home quarantine were referred to either hospital or low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) during the first 13 epidemiological weeks of this year, up to April 2.
The average in that period of over three months comprised 0.74 per cent PKRC referrals and 0.27 per cent hospital referrals.
According to a graphic Khairy posted, the number of PKRC referrals for Covid-19 cases on home quarantine peaked this year during the 5th epidemiological week (January 30-February 5) at 413 cases, before falling to 56 cases in the past 13th epidemiological week (March 27-April 2).
The number of hospital referrals for Covid-19 cases self-isolating at home peaked in the 8th epidemiological week (February 20-26) at 165 cases, before dropping to 50 cases in the past week from March 27 to April 2.
At the peak of Malaysia’s Omicron wave on March 8, the VCAC was monitoring about 586,000 people with Covid-19 at home.
“Monitoring of ‘home isolation’ is important because there are some patients whose conditions deteriorate and need referrals to hospital or PKRC,” Khairy tweeted.
“Although the percentage of referrals is low (<1 per cent), VCAC monitoring gives some reassurance to patients and real data for the Ministry of Health.”
Based on statistics from CovidNow’s site, brought-in-dead (BID) cases form a relatively significant proportion of coronavirus-related mortality.
Covid-19 deaths peaked this year at an average of 88 cases on March 15, including 26 BID cases (30 per cent). On March 31, about 42 Covid-19 fatalities were reported on average, including 10 BID (24 per cent). More than 35,000 people in Malaysia have died from Covid-19 to date.
VCAC monitoring is performed through the health assessment tool (HAT) function on MySejahtera, where Covid-19 cases isolating at home answer several questions on the app twice a day about their symptoms.
Questions include whether one has lost their sense of taste or smell, whether they have chest pain, their blood pressure reading, heart rate reading, and body temperature.
Khairy said more than 70 per cent of people with Covid-19 on home quarantine fill in the HAT every day. MOH uses this data to identify which cases are deteriorating and need hospital referrals.
If a person’s HAT shows significant deterioration of their condition, MySejahtera sends the person a notification to give a choice to him or her to visit a health care facility.
This is displayed through a message that reads “Confirmed Case – Warning!” in red that tells the MySejahtera user to immediately visit the nearest CAC to health evaluation. CAC’s helpline is available at 03-7723 9299 from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week.
In case of an emergency, the person with Covid-19 should call 999 or go to the nearest hospital immediately.
“In the transition phase, the VCAC through MySejahtera will be continued. This function gives peace of mind to patients who fill in the HAT and enables continuous virtual monitoring by the Ministry of Health to avoid congestion at physical CACs that had occurred previously,” Khairy said.
The health minister added that more than two million Covid-19 care packages have been distributed to low-income families, comprising a pulse oximeter, thermometer, test kits, and face masks, with a million more kits to be delivered.