Klang Valley's Covid-19 hospitals running out of beds in ICUs: Malaysian health ministry

One hospital has seen more than 20 case referrals to the ICU daily in the past one week. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Health Ministry has sounded the alarm as government hospitals around the Klang Valley are running out of beds at intensive care units (ICUs) to treat critical Covid-19 cases.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said that one of the hospitals - Hospital Sungai Buloh - has seen more than 20 case referrals to the ICU daily in the past one week, adding that the hospital is almost running out of beds.

He said in a Facebook post on Sunday (May 2): "63 ICU patients, with more than 25 critically ill patients to be reviewed in the general ward and emergency department and more than 20 case referrals to ICU daily in the past one week in Sungai Buloh Hospital."

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham added that Hospital Sungai Buloh, which has been fully dedicated to treating Covid-19 cases, will be increasing its ICU and critical treatment bed capacity in phases to keep up with the rising number of cases.

He said the Health Ministry started procuring equipment such as ventilators last year to enable the hospital to increase its capacity when needed.

In a series of posts, Dr Noor Hisham explained how the public healthcare system is struggling to manage the load of critical Covid-19 cases.

He said six hospitals which allocated beds at ICUs and critical treatment centres to treat Covid-19 patients have already hit the alert threshold.

"Hospital Sungai Buloh, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Ampang, Hospital Serdang, Hospital Selayang and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah are already over 70 per cent capacity with some of them almost hitting 100 per cent," he said.

"At Universiti Malaya Medical Centre's ICU capacity, ICU bed capacity is now over 50 per cent, " added Dr Noor Hisham.

He said hospitals in the Klang Valley were also forced to reduce or postpone surgeries and other elective procedures to prioritise treatment for Covid-19 patients.

Dr Noor Hisham said the move would also enable healthcare workers to be mobilised to critical areas to treat Covid-19 cases.

"The Health Ministry will be working with the private sector to increase bed capacity for critical patients. We will also seek their services to treat non-Covid-19 patients at private hospitals where the cost will be borne by the government at an agreed rate, " he said, adding that the move has been in place since the second wave of infections hit last year.

Dr Noor Hisham continued to remind the public to strictly follow standard operating procedure to curb infections.

He added: "100 per cent compliance is crucial for the country to get back on its feet."

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