By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 26: Preparations are underway to set up Quarantine and Treatment Centres for Covid-19 (PKRC) in Miri and Kanowit as part of measures to face increasing numbers of patients with mild symptoms.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said that they foresaw in September last year the need to increase hospital or bed capacity in the event that the Covid-19 situation worsened in Sarawak.
“Other than hospitals, PKRC is being set up to increase bed capacity to cater for low risk or stage one and two patients who do not need intensive treatment.
“Those with mild symptoms will be placed at the PKRC to be isolated with healthcare frontliners monitoring round the clock.
“We have (PKRC) in Sibu and things are taking shape in Miri, Kanowit and other areas depending on the situation,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 update today.
Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, gave reassurance that Sarawak is constantly restrategising its preparations to face any eventuality especially in ensuring sufficient bed capacity, manpower and testing facilities in the fight to curb the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
“We are prepared for any eventuality because this virus is not like a weapon such as atomic bombs or missiles which we can identify their types and strengths.
“We cannot see this virus, like what happened in the Pasai Cluster which was overblown (sic) all over the state,” he said in response to a question on the possibility of a deadlier virus strain emerging in Sarawak.
With RM21 million approved by federal government to upgrade Covid-19 testing capacity in selected hospitals including Limbang, Kapit and Sarikei as well as support from the private sector namely Borneo Medical Centre and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Uggah hoped that in three to four weeks time, these facilities can ramp up testing capacity to 6,500 tests a day.
“With the support from the private sector, today we can cater for 5,000 tests a day.
“The PCR lab in Limbang will be ready by the end of this month while the lab in Kapit is being set up and the Sarikei one is being upgraded. We are now looking at enhancing other areas as well.
“In the past, we can only cater for 2,500 tests per day but now that our testing capacity has increased, that means the waiting time for results will be below 36 hours,” he added.
Furthermore, Uggah pointed out that the federal government had also approved RM33 million to upgrade hospitals in places like Bau, Kapit, Sri Aman, Sarikei and Limbang to serve as Covid-19 hospitals.
“A bit too late but never too late. We hoped they could have given us earlier because we foresaw that if the number (of cases) increased to where it is today, we would have problems with facilities,” he added. — DayakDaily