Sarawak hospitals reach critical limit, no more ICU beds available

Dr Chin Zin Hing

KUCHING, May 17: Sarawak Health Department is sending out an SOS as the State’s health system is at a tipping point as all ICU beds have been taken up.

In a press statement today, Sarawak Health Director Dr Chin Zin Hing said the Covid-19 situation in the whole country including Sarawak “is very bad”.

“We are in crisis and I strongly appeal to you, all public (sic) to play your part. Please stay at home!

“Our ICU beds are over-run or in other words full across Sarawak. The doctors are working very hard every day to turn over the ventilator or ICU beds so that the next patient that needs it can benefit from it. No amount of ventilators will be sufficient.

“We need to cut the Covid-19 transmission urgently! Without cutting the transmission, 10 per cent to 20 per cent of Covid-19 positive cases will need hospital admission and five per cent to 10 per cent will need ICU care,” said Dr Chin.

Citing an example, he explained that if there were to be 1,000 Covid-19 patients, 10 per cent means 100 patients which means 100 ICU beds are needed.

“In Sarawak, we only have 53 ICU beds in four major hospitals. At the current moment in all major Sarawak hospitals, we are running 92 ICU beds. All full. Remember, each bed if taken up will be used for at least 10 days on average,” said Dr Chin.

He thus called on all Sarawakians to help by staying at home and remaining within each individual’s family bubble while at the same time, work from home if possible.

“If you have symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 or known to (be) expose(d) to a (Covid-19 positive) person or cluster, please get yourself tested so that you will not be a source of infection to your beloved family, friends or colleagues. Remember, they have high risk family members at home.

“Practise SOP (standard operating procedure) at work — wear your mask at all times and do not eat together as eating together will require you to take down your mask,” said Dr Chin.

Dr Chin is also seeking understanding from non-essential service operators.

“Ask not what your country or State can do for you but what you can do now for your country or State right now.

“The closure will be temporary based on the situation in the State. All is not lost as we still allow ‘take away’.

“We really need to cut this transmission with everyone’s help now until the national and state vaccination programme is rolled out successfully.”

He stressed that the present is a critical moment and asked all Sarawakians to work together to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

“Please assist us to cut the transmission as our healthcare settings are very overwhelmed. The situation we are in now is very different compare to one year ago. We are at the tipping point,” said Dr Chin. — DayakDaily