Phuket is experiencing a surge in new Covid-19 infections, with daily figures skyrocketing to some of the highest levels since the pandemic began. But, the Deputy Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital says that there is a silver lining, because about 95% of new cases are experiencing either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
The Deputy Director said yesterday that infections from the Omicron variant continue to quickly mount on the island province, but, as studies had promisingly suggested, the sharp rise in Omicron infections has not correlated to a parallel rise in severe illness and death from Covid-19.
Local daily Covid-19 infection data for Phuket has been on an upward trajectory ever since the New Year’s holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations but, as the Omicron variant infects a higher and higher percentage of new cases, a much higher percentage of people are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms and very few are severely affected or critically ill, according to the Deputy Director.
“From the analysis of the data we have found that most of the infected, more than 95%, were ‘Green’ patients. That is, there are no symptoms at all or that there are very few symptoms. And only 0.5% to 1% required admission to the ICU, or were Red patients. It can be confirmed that Omicron is a much less dangerous virus strain than Delta. This may be due to many factors. For example, a lot of the people of Phuket have received vaccinations. This may have helped create group immunity, and now when an infection occurs the body can react quickly, so the person is infected but not seriously ill.”
The mildness of infections has left Phuket authorities rethinking their Covid-19 strategy on preparation for treatment of serious infections. They had been focusing on special respiratory clinics and increasing hospital beds and ICU capacity. But now there putting more effort into home isolation treatment for those experiencing mild infections, beefing up the number of “hospitels” on the islands that can take asymptomatic patients and allow them to isolate.
Also, with the milder symptoms, Health authorities are urging those who suspect they may have been exposed to Covid-19 to take a home antigen test kit and if results are positive, contact either the Aunjai Clinic that was set up as a first point of contact for infected patients amid last year’s Covid-19 surge. Alternatively, people can call the Phuket Covid-19 Call Centre hotline at 076-254200 for assistance, pressing 88 to receive service in English.
SOURCE: The Phuket News