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ICU admissions remain high, MOH staff facing burnout - Health DG

KUALA LUMPUR (July 8): The trend of admission of COVID-19 cases to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is still at a high level with the total ICU bed occupancy rate surpassing 90 per cent, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

At the same time, he said the medical and health frontliners were suffering from 'burnout’ symptoms because they had been dealing with so many COVID-19 cases for an extended period of time.

"The MOH (Ministry of Health) would like to inform that the average number of new daily cases for seven days (June 30 to July 6, 2021) is 6,539 cases and it is still high compared to the 4,000-daily threshold target for the PPN (National Recovery Plan),” he said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the states that recorded the number of new cases exceeding the value of 12.2 cases per 100,000 population were Labuan, Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Melaka, Putrajaya, Sarawak and Pahang.

He said four states, namely Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan dan Labuan, showed an average of more than 38 new daily cases per 100,000 population which exceeded the maximum capacity of hospitals for the past seven days.

“The new daily cases increased by an average of 2.6 per cent over the past seven days. If this situation persists, the health system in these states will be paralysed and a similar situation for the whole country is likely to occur,” he said.

Following the development, Dr Noor Hisham said the MOH had taken immediate steps, including converting several hospitals in the Klang Valley into full COVID-19 hospitals such as Ampang Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital and UKM Specialist Children’s Hospital.

He said the MOH had also increased the bed capacity of Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), Selayang Hospital and Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang Hospital (HTAR) to be used as treatment centres for category four and five patients.

“The steps include transferring non-COVID-19 patients to private hospitals, especially those around HKL and HTAR areas, considering changing the status of Shah Alam Hospital for treating COVID-19 cases and repurposing beds in its regular wards for critically ill COVID-19 patients as well as increasing the capacity of beds at PKRCs,” he said.

He added that the MOH was also mobilising more health workers from Phase Two PPN states to critical states for the purpose of treating patients, mobilising personnel from private hospitals and encouraging the involvement of volunteers in control and vaccination activities.

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