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Critical COVID-19 Patients Wait For ICU Beds As Sabah Hospitals Reach Full Capacity

Hospital beds in the poorest state in the country are now 99.5% full.

Cover image via Malai Rosmah Tuah/New Straits Times & CodeBlue

The COVID-19 crisis in Sabah has become worrisome as hospitals reach full capacity and the critically ill have to wait for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds

Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said in an online briefing on Thursday, 22 October, that hospital beds in the state are now almost fully occupied, or 99.5% full, reported Malay Mail.

The situation has forced the state government and hospitals to conduct screenings and decide between who to admit into its medical facilities for treatment and who to self-isolate.

Frontliners at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu transporting a COVID-19 positive cases in an isolation pod.

Image via CodeBlue

As hospital beds are almost full, Masidi announced that patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, but have little to no symptoms, are now allowed to self-isolate at home

"If the symptoms are manageable, the patients will be advised to stay at home, and treatment will be done at home in order to save them from going to a quarantine or treatment centre," he explained.

He said that priority for hospitalisation will be given to high-risk patients and those who are deemed to have a higher chance of infecting others unless warded.

The minister added that hospitals in the state are doing their best.

However, it seems that resources are stretched to the brim.

The Borneo Post reported there should be a total of 5,651 beds in hospitals and COVID-19 quarantine and treatment centres across Sabah. However, if the beds are 99.5% full, that means there are only about 30 beds in the state left to accommodate patients.

Malay Mail also reported that up to 100 patients have already been put on waiting lists to enter quarantine centres, especially in districts with a high number of infections.

Meanwhile, a doctor on ground has told CodeBlue that ICUs are so full that critically ill patients have to be stabilised and wait in emergency departments for up to two days.

As of 22 October, there are 6,585 active cases in the north Borneo state

Yesterday, Sabah, also the poorest state in the country, saw an increase of 578 COVID-19 cases, the fifth consecutive day of daily infections above 500.

The rise in active cases has brought the cumulative total of cases in Sabah to 9,868.

However, the actual situation in Sabah is not yet even fully known as Masidi said there is currently a backlog of some 6,653 test results that have yet to return.

"Once we clear the backlog, we will have a better idea of the actual number of COVID-19 cases in the state," he said.

Remember to limit your movement and wash your hands often. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation:

As of 17 October, MOH has deployed a total of 767 medical personnel over to Sabah to help fight the pandemic:

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