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“Green” Covid-19 cases to move to Phuket community isolation centres

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket community isolation centres will be expanded to hold "green" patients. (via BKK Post)

The Phuket Provincial Public Health Office Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon has stated the province will deal with the struggle to maintain available hospital beds by moving mildly affected “green” Covid-19 patients into home quarantine and community isolation centres. Phuket has been adding hundreds of hospital beds every week, with 200 beds added yesterday, to keep up with the rising Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations.

The PPHO Chief discussed the plan at a meeting of the Phuket Provincial Communicable Disease Committee yesterday. The nearly 590-bed surplus the PPHO boasts has been largely due to the constant adding of new beds to hospitals and medical facilities. This move could substantially reduce bed occupancy, as 625 of the 1,961 occupied hospital beds are classified as “green patients” – a designation given for patients with light symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Shifting these patients to home quarantine or community isolation facilities falls in line with other moves to try to reduce the strain of Covid-19 on daily life and tourism potential for Phuket. From tomorrow, domestic tourists entering Phuket will bypass day 5 Covid-19 testing as part of new rules for entering, and officials work towards an eventual reopening without restriction. The government is facing intense pressure to fight towards reopening, especially from the private sector pushing for a December 1 reopening.

But Covid-19 infections numbers are still at their highest levels – Dr Kusak reported about 115 new cases each day, though the actual average for the last week is double that – and hospital bed capacity has hung between 70% and 80% for weeks. The PPHO Chief points out that the majority of new infections have been mild with symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, running nose, red eyes, rashes and diarrhoea.

A District Health System plan has been created calling for collaboration from hospitals and public health officials at the district and subdistrict levels. Community isolation centres will be created at temples, schools and other public facilities around Phuket to hold 200 people with staff on call 24/7 if any mildly infected patients worsen. Community screening using antigen test kits will be carried out by Comprehensive Covid-19 Response Teams, who will also encourage everyone to follow DMHTT measures and search for unvaccinated residents.

Those in Phuket testing positive with ATKs and in isolation at home or in a community centre will be moved to a hospital for RT-PCR testing if their condition worsens. Those classified as yellow or red patients with more severe symptoms will remain in hospital facilities. No word on the Covid-19 Care Centres currently in place for those who test positive using ATKs but not confirmed with RT-PCR tests.

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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