Health DG: 150% increase in patient arrivals at Covid-19 Assessment Centres
PETALING JAYA: There has been a 150% increase in patient arrivals at the country’s Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC), which were designed to help manage patients who are undergoing home treatment.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that as such, a new call centre will be set up to take calls from Covid-19 patients that are directed to CACs.
“The number of patient arrivals surged from 4, 000 daily to 10, 000 a day on June 5.
“The number of active cases under CAC monitoring has also increased by 108% from 5, 300 a day to 11, 000 a day, ” he said in a statement on Wednesday (June 9).
He added that there has been an increase in cases referred for hospitalisation (step-up care), from nine to 35 for the May 23-June 5 period.
Dr Noor Hisham said that with the strain on personnel at CACs in such a short period of time, the phone lines are frequently congested.
“The Health Ministry will set up a call centre to help receive calls from symptomatic patients to be channelled to a suitable CAC, field general enquiries concerning home quarantine, and channel emergency calls to MERS 999.
“For a start, it will be implemented in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as these have the highest load of cases,” he said.
The ministry will also add phone lines at 33 CACs there to take more calls, he added.
To date, there are 198 CACs in the country, each having a team comprising a family medicine specialist, public health specialist, medical officer, assistant medical officer, nurses, and an assistant environmental health officer.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that CACs were set up to assess individuals who are confirmed to be Covid-19 positive and to judge whether they are suitable to undergo quarantine at home, or have to be admitted to either quarantine and low-risk treatment centres (PKRC) or hospitals.
“This initiative was able to reduce congestion in hospitals when the country was faced with a steep increase in Covid-19 cases.
“Category 1 (asymptomatic) and 2 (mild symptoms) patients were monitored by CACs, while hospitals focused on treating patients in Category 3 and above.
“The PKRC houses Category 1 and 2 patients who do not qualify to undergo isolation and quarantine at home, ” he said.