Moh To Increase Testing, Manpower, Bed Capacity To Tackle Current Covid-19 Situation

KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): The Health Ministry (MoH) will implement several measures, including increasing screening tests, manpower and bed capacity, to tackle the ongoing spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Covid-19 screening tests rose sharply by 30.2%, with a daily average of 63,925 Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and Rapid Test Kit Antigen (RTK-Ag) tests conducted before May 14 compared to 91,608 tests for the period of May 23 to 29.

“The use of RTK-Ag as the Covid-19 screening test has helped detect the disease faster and in greater numbers,” he said in a statement today, adding that outsourcing Covid-19 screening tests to private labs also contributed to increased testing and detection.

Dr Noor Hisham said that another measure the ministry would take was to increase the number of beds in Covid-19 hospitals and Covid-19 hybrid hospitals through the identification of spaces in hospitals that could be repurposed as intensive care units (ICUs) and the preparation of medical equipment and other materials needed.

According to him, the ICU field hospital in Kepala Batas Hospital, Penang and the suggested temporary takeover of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Specialist Children’s Hospital were among the steps being taken to increase ICU capacity, in addition to working with non-governmental organisations.

Dr Noor Hisham also shared the total bed capacity at various types of medical facilities, and the percentage currently in use. Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres have a total capacity of 27,183 beds, out of which 65% is in use currently, while there are 10,190 beds at Covid-19 hospitals, with 85% being in use.

Meanwhile, normal ICU bed occupancy is at 88 per cent, out of a total of 1,698 beds, and Covid-19 patient ICU bed occupancy is at 104%, out of a total of 1,113 beds. In addition, 60% of 2,318 ventilators are currently being used, with Covid-19 patients using 39%.

He said the ministry is increasing personnel for duty at all facilities.

Dr Noor Hisham said securing manpower is among the main challenges faced and many personnel have been mobilised to carry out a variety of functions in the management of the pandemic.

“Health personnel from various categories, including surgeons in several hospitals have been mobilised to treat Covid-19 patients,” he said.


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