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Rising Phuket Covid-19 infections may cause ICU shortage

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FILE PHOTO: ICU beds may be in short supply in Phuket soon.

A shortage of ICU beds in Phuket may be coming soon according to an epidemiologist at the main government hospital, Vachira Hospital in Phuket Town. The Phuket governor held a live broadcast press conference where the doctor explained that, with the spread of the B.117 variant, which is more transmissible and often leads to pneumonia, she fears beds might fill quickly as infection numbers increase across the province.

The first and second wave of Covid-19 saw very little pneumonia, but national reports on the third wave show about one-in-four infections have pneumonia symptoms. Only 10% of cases in Phuket have severe symptoms, while 30% have light pneumonia symptoms, and about 50% see no symptoms.

Still, even 10% may require a lot of ventilators and overwhelm the health care system. At the government hospital, there are 200 beds available, but only 19 ICU beds for severe cases. ICU beds are already half full, and the number of pneumonia patients who may soon require those beds is growing quickly. An 80% bed occupancy is considered a critical situation for the ICU.

Infection rates have been high in Phuket, per capita, and experts warn that the island desperately needs to reduce the number of new infections immediately to avoid an ICU bed shortage catastrophe. The vice governor said that proactive screening has been stepped up, especially in Rawai, Cherng Talay, and Mai Khao, and health officials will expand to other at-risk areas. They’re hoping proactive screening will be more effective than asking people for 14 day self quarantines.

Phuket currently has 476 people receiving treatment for Covid-19 with all but 1 originating in the province. 253 of those people have been discharged from the hospital, and the remaining patients are spread between 7 area hospitals while an additional 73 patients are receiving treatment at field hospitals.

Outbreaks have been spreading to different areas recently with Phuket town, Cherng Talay, Wichit, and Rassada currently marked as hotspots. With the frequent movement, the government is asking people to call 191 to report areas that may have many infections. The governor vowed that medical staff would then provide proactive testing and give care to those with Covid-19 already in order to slow spread and prevent an ICU bed shortage in Phuket.

Below are the latest figures for infections around Phuket.

  • Wichit ‒ 48 infections
  • Patong ‒ 45
  • Phuket Town – 44 (Talad Yai 27, Talad Neua 17)
  • Rassada ‒ 44
  • Cherng Talay ‒ 43
  • Kathu ‒ 38
  • Chalong ‒ 34
  • Kamala ‒ 32
  • Srisoonthorn ‒ 29
  • Rawai ‒ 26
  • Thepkrasattri ‒ 19
  • Koh Kaew ‒ 13
  • Pa Khlok ‒ 10
  • Mai Khao ‒ 8
  • Sakhu ‒ 8
  • Karon ‒ 7

SOURCE:The Phuket News

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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