Health director: SGH is enforcing stricter protocols to protect healthcare workers from risk of Covid-19 infection

Dr Chin Zin Hing

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, April 30: Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) has heightened infection control and prevention measures including Active Case Detection (ACD) in place to protect and minimise the Covid-19 exposure risk among healthcare workers.

State health director Dr Chin Zin Hing emphasised there was no consideration made yet on shutting or locking down the hospital and services will continue to be provided.

“We will try our best to make sure there are no subsequent infections. I have listed out the measures we have taken to prevent that,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 today.

Dr Chin highlighted this following a letter that was circulated on social media yesterday (April 29) alleging that 51 healthcare workers in SGH have tested positive for Covid-19 as of April 21.

The author questioned as to why the hospital was not locked down or imposing a partial lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, which they claimed is supposed to be the standard operating procedure (SOP) in certain locations with more than 40 Covid-19 cases, which have been imposed with an enhanced movement control order (EMCO).

Dr Chin also pointed out that the healthcare workers were not infected at one go but over a period of time with perhaps one or two cases recorded per day.

“In fact, 30 per cent of them have recovered and been discharged. It does not involved the whole hospital and all healthcare workers,” he said.

On whether the Health Department will take action against the author of the letter, Dr Chin said they were too busy containing and fighting an outbreak to find out who the person is.

Earlier on, he revealed that the measures to ensure infections were under control include strengthening infection control practices and enforcement of social distancing among the staff, as well as tightening monitoring on strict infection control practices such as hand hygiene, use of full personal protective equipment (PPE) including face shields and surgical masks in all clinical areas.

“We will screen all the patients admitted to the hospital to find out if they are positive for Covid or not,” he added.

Dr Chin pointed out that staff were also assigned to designated teams to take care of specific wards so that they would not be mixed with other wards and patients.

“The working hours of staff are organised into full shifts and partial shifts while environmental sanitisation works will also be enhanced including regular disinfection of service areas including lifts, ATM, surfaces and so on.

“We will provide face masks to all the patients as well as accompanying family members regardless of whether they have signs and symptoms (for Covid-19) or not. On the management side, data entry will also be improved,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that the state government had contributed RM10 million worth of PPE to aid healthcare workers in fighting Covid-19.

“There are also donations from the private sector. The State Health Department has also procured RM7 million worth of PPE which is expected to arrive in May.

“We also provide accommodation and food for the frontline healthcare workers in a hotel for their convenience,” he added. — DayakDaily