PN’S FALSE BOTTOM? HOW CAN THIS BE – IF NEW COVID CASES ON THE DECLINE? SITUATION ‘VERY WORRYING’ AS ICU OCCUPANCY REACHES 104%, SAYS DG – EVEN AS EXPERTS, MP WARN REDUCED NUMBERS NOT REAL WITH LOWER TESTING

Health Ministry staffs take a break for 10 minutes during they conducting screening test Covid-19 for Kampung Baru residents and foreigners at Masjid Kampung Baru. AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star( 7/4/2020)

Situation ‘very worrying’ as ICU occupancy reaches 104%, says D-G

THE occupancy rate at intensive care units (ICU) in hospitals nationwide has exceeded the maximum capacity, rising from 96% in May 24 to 104% on June 6, said Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health Ministry director-general said the situation now is “very worrying” as not all patients needing critical care can be placed in ICUs.

Noor Hisham said hospitals nationwide are seeing a surge in Category 4 and Category 5 cases with serious symptoms. Many of these cases also require oxygen and respiratory support, especially those who are elderly and with comorbidity issues.

“Such patients take a longer time to recover due to the serious complications from Covid-19,” he said.

“The Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre’s (CPRC) statistics show that the average time taken for treatment of a Category 4 patient is between 14 and 16 days, while for Category 5 patients, the treatment can last between 19 and 26 days.”

He also warned that despite the number of new daily infections being on a downward trend, the country is not out of the woods yet and the situation remains serious.

Noor Hisham said in addition to the danger of the virus spreading, ICUs are overstretched to critical levels.

He warned that cases can increase if one becomes lax, even for a day.

“The situation cannot be taken lightly, especially if there are certain quarters disseminating false interpretations of the current situation,” he said.

As for non-ICU beds, meanwhile, there is an improvement as the occupancy rate declined from 99% to 89% within two weeks, while the occupancy at low- risk quarantine centres was at 54%.

He reminded the public to continue and observe the standard operating procedure (SOP), get tested when there is a need and sign up for the vaccination.

Meanwhile, positive cases declined by 2.6% or 1,379 during the 22nd epidemiological week compared to the previous week.

Noor Hisham said this was due to the movement-control order 3.0, which was imposed from May 12.

Active cases, however, continued to increase following the surge in cases reported in the 20th and 21st epidemiological week.

Active cases went up from 57,022 in the beginning of the 22nd epidemiological week to 78,017.

He said that although the overall number of cases declined by 2.6% on a weekly basis, active cases continued to rise.

The country had 82,797 active cases as of 12pm today.  – THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

Reduced numbers not real with lower testing, says MP

PETALING JAYA: The government must not give a false impression that the number of daily cases is dropping, but must instead be transparent with its Covid-19 testing rates, Dr Kelvin Yii said today.

In a statement, the Bandar Kuching MP said failing to adjust the decreasing figures according to testing and positivity rates was meaningless and gave a “false sense of security,”.

“Today, they announced that the cases have somehow dropped to 5,566, but the number of tests actually fell to 77,030 people,” he said, adding that it meant the positivity rate was still at 7.23%, the same as last week.

Citing data from the past week, Yii noted that the number of Covid-19 tests had significantly dropped from 105,293 (June 4) and 103,862 (June 5), to 89,998 (June 6) and 81,708 (June 7).

He said the average positivity rate of around 7% was above the World Health Organization’s benchmark of under 5%. Countries that have successfully contained the virus such as the UK now have a positivity rate of about 0.3%, he added.

Yii also said he was concerned about the fact that the government had gone against expert advice by deciding to test fewer people during the lockdown.

He warned that the reduced testing could result in slower diagnosis of Covid-19 patients, which increased their likelihood of being treated later with more severe health complications, or even death.

He said failing to prioritise testing in the next few weeks would cause the country to rely heavily on lockdown strategies, which then affects people’s livelihoods.

“If we do not test enough, isolate quickly and provide all necessary support to those involved, the cases will naturally increase and then overload our healthcare system again once we lift this movement control order. We need a proper exit strategy.” FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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