[Letter to the Editor] Gross misreporting of total Covid-19 patients warded in Sibu Hospital

Sarawak Covid-19

Letter to the Editor

By Dr Gabriel Walter

Dear Editor,

In memory of the 35-year-old Sarawakian, who today (Jan 23) died because of the Covid-19 disease. She was tested positive on the 16th of January but admitted to the Sibu hospital only on the 22nd of January after she reported short of breath. She died a day later. Such a tragedy.

Today, for her justice and justice of Sarawakians, I want to uncover the lies that are hidden in our daily reporting of positive patients. This is to ensure, that all Covid positive cases, receive the medical attention that is needed.

Sibu Hospital is the second largest hospital in Sarawak. It has an official bed count of 536 beds from a designed capacity of 750 beds. These beds are shared by all patients, not just Covid-19 patients.

Today (Jan 23), it was reported, that 1,061 people are warded in Sibu Hospital. When we check with the number of positive declared everyday, and the number of people discharged, and new people warded, the number matches.

For example, yesterday, there were 1,442 warded in ALL hospitals. Today, 193 new cases, 2 unfortunate deaths and 134 people were cured and discharged. The total reported warded today is 1,500 people.

Based on the numbers, 1,442+193-134-2=1,499 supposed to be warded. However declared is 1,500. It’s a small error. Will let it slide.

So it shows you, the number of declared warded Covid-19 patients in hospitals is equal to the number of declared Covid-19 positive cases, deaths and cured.

Few months ago, we wrote extensively about the Sabah hospital bed situation, hoping that we will be ready for Sarawak when it happens in Sarawak. It was then, finally admitted in Sabah, that many were actually given HSO (Home Stay Order) and many waited for days to be picked up.

I can’t believe, I have to ask the same questions (now) as I asked then.

If Sibu Hospital’s capacity is 536, then how can it have 1,061 warded patients? Do they sleep in shifts? Do you place one patient under the bed?

Even if they manage to clear 50 per cent of Sibu Hospital for just Covid-19 patients, that’s only 268 beds. Where are the other 793 patients supposedly warded in Sibu Hospital?

What we have been learning now is that these so called 1,061 warded patients in Sibu Hospital are all not actually warded in Sibu Hospital. So where are they?

1) Some are still in lockdown areas. They are declared positive but not yet transferred. This is the case as the 13 “missing” positives, that when exposed, were mysteriously “on the way” to hospitals. But why were they declared as warded in Sibu Hospital when they are on the way or waiting to be transferred?

2) As in the case of this unfortunate lady. She is case #2,947. She was rt-PCR tested on the 16th of January and was found positive. Labelled as case #2,947, means she is only registered as a case today (after January 22nd 12pm), after she has been checked into the hospital because of breathing issue (January 22nd). She died the next day, which is 7 days after she was tested. She was obviously symptomatic. But why wasn’t she in the hospital as soon as they found that she is positive? Why wasn’t her positive case, declared and registered earlier?

3) There is also a significant number of people put in PKRC. These are make shift light treatment centres for Level 1 and Level 2 Covid-19 patients. They are definitely NOT warded in Sibu Hospital. But why are they declared as warded in Sibu Hospital? How many are they?

From the declare PKRC facility, there is less than 94 beds available now (Methodist Centennial was only operational few days ago!) How many beds are there in the converted nurse hostels?
The others will only be ready next week! Until today, we have barely seen any images of filled PKRC. Everything is so quiet about these so called Sibu PKRC.

4) Without a doubt, many patients who are already found positive, are not even brought to hospitals yet, but rather given HSO, or left at other PUI (Person-Under-Investigation) quarantine centre with the other non-positives!?

They are waiting to be transferred. But then again, why are they declared as warded in Sibu Hospital, when they are clearly not warded.

The public demands transparency:

a) How many positives are actually warded in Sibu Hospital? What level Covid patients are they?

b) How many positives are placed in PKRC?

c) How many positives are left with HSO?

d) How many positives are still waiting to be picked up from homes and lockdown areas?

We must not let reporting slide. Sarawakians must know the truth, so that awareness can be raised and so that we do not end up like Sabah.

People are still drinking in coffee shops and drinking beer in CMCO red zones like Kuching. They do not understand that if we do not stop this tsunami in three weeks, we will lose the whole of Sarawak for the whole year! — DayakDaily

This is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of DayakDaily. Letters to the Editor may be edited for clarity.