Covid-19: S’wak Health Dept apologises for daily report discrepancy but denies negligence

A stethoscope. - file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUCHING, Jan 26: The Sarawak Health Department has apologised for misunderstanding or misinformation arises from its daily Covid-19 report which may have caused public mistrust or panic.

The department in a statement today explained that due to spikes in Covid-19 cases in various districts, it was a challenge for its daily report to reflect the real time situation concerning patient admissions and discharge.

This, said the Department, had contributed to discrepancy in its daily statistical reports.

“Due to the sudden spike in clusters and number of samples taken, the Health Department has a cut-off time in report preparation every day for its reporting.

“As the number of positive cases increases in a number of districts, it has been challenging for the daily report to reflect the real time conditions of admissions and discharge of patients,” said the department in response to a “Letter to the Editor” alleging gross misreporting of total Covid-19 patients warded in Sibu Hospital by DayakDaily reader Dr Gabriel Walter.

Gabriel had highlighted that the total number of patients in Sibu Hospital had exceeded the availability of beds for Covid-19 patients. He thus called for transparency in the release of figures through the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) daily report on Covid-19.

While the department agreed with the call for transparency asserted by Gabriel, it held that Gabriel’s demand for images of “filled up PKRC (Quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centres) “is uncalled for”.

“Indeed the (daily data) reporting may have its weaknesses, we note the discrepancies and have included that the beds allocated for Covid-19 patients includes the beds in PKRC and designated hospitals.

“The Health Department would like to assure the public that the Sarawak Health Department is working around the clock and has coordinated and made necessary arrangements to ensure that there are enough beds to isolate Covid-19 patients.”

The department also pointed out SDMC is working on upgrading healthcare facilities and expanding bed availability in facilities throughout Sarawak as a preparatory measure.

Meanwhile, on Gabriel’s allegation that a Covid-19 patient had passed away due to failure to give timely medical attention, the Health Department explained that the 35-year-old patient was screened via RT-PCR swab test on Jan 16, 2021 and was given treatment for her underlying condition between then to the date of the RT-PCR result before she passed away on Jan 22, 2021, and that she had comorbidity.

“The Health Department has taken the necessary steps while adhering to the potential risk of Covid-19 when treating the patient. It is our sole duty and responsibility as medical professionals to care about our patients and have their best interest in mind.

“The Health Department acknowledges that there has been a delay in result turnover time in the past weeks. This was due to increasing number of active case detection (ACD) and contact tracing operation implemented to trace screen and isolate.

“This is evident as the number of clusters emerged all over Sarawak, namely in the Sibu and Miri Division,” the department explained. — DayakDaily