ICU bed usage for Covid-19 patients at 104%, says Noor Hisham

(Malaysia Now) – The usage of beds by Covid-19 patients in the ICUs of government hospitals nationwide increased from 96% on May 24 to 104% on June 6, says health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the usage of more than 100% of ICU beds was a worrying situation as not all patients in need of critical care could be placed in the ICU.

“However, the usage of beds by Covid-19 patients in general wards showed a slight decrease in the past two weeks, from 99% to 89%.

“Similarly, the bed occupancy rate at the Covid-19 quarantine and low-risk treatment centres (PKRC) is at 54%,” he said in a statement.

He said hospitals nationwide also faced an increase in categories four and five patients requiring oxygen and breathing assistance, especially among the vulnerable groups such as senior citizens and those with comorbidities.

He said these patients need a longer time to recover due to serious health complications caused by Covid-19.

Statistics from the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre show that the average treatment period for category four patients is between 14 and 16 days while that of category five patients is 19 to 26 days.

“The spread of Covid-19 and the capacity of hospitals (especially ICUs) to handle Covid-19 cases are at critical levels and can continue to increase if we become complacent even for a day.

“This situation cannot be taken lightly, especially if there are parties spreading inaccurate interpretations of the current situation,” he said.

Noor Hisham said statistics also show that the total number of positive Covid-19 cases in the 22nd epidemiology week dropped by 2.6% or 1,379 cases compared to the previous week following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) 3.0.

However, during the same period, from May 30 to June 5, the number of active cases increased following a surge during the 20th and 21st epidemiology weeks.

“There were 57,022 active cases at the beginning of the 21st epidemiology week and, at the start of the 22nd epidemiology week, it rose to 78,017 cases, which is an increase of 20,995 cases or 37%,” he said, adding that as of yesterday, a total of 82,797 active cases were still undergoing treatment and observation.