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Phuket unveils new strategy for Covid-19, hospital shortages

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced a 3-pronged Covid-19 strategy.

After the release of official figures showing that Phuket is down to its last 10% of available beds for Covid-19 patients, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced a revamping of the province’s strategy on the pandemic. The governor also insists that there’s plenty of beds in the hospitals and there is no shortage despite what the official numbers and math show.

According to Phuket Provincial Public Health Office statistics, there are only 257 remaining hospital beds, nearly equal to the number of infections uncovered in the province each day. But Governor Narong insists that there’s no problem, saying that they have expanded community isolation centres in all 3 of Phuket’s districts and added beds at field hospitals and hospitals.

The new Covid-19 strategy was revealed after a late evening meeting with the Inspector General of the District 11 Office of the Ministry of Public Health, the office that oversees Phuket and 6 other upper Southern Thailand provinces, as well as the heads of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office and Vachira Phuket Hospital.

The three-prong strategy was announced to address the growing Covid-19 infections in Phuket which have now been consistently over 200 per day for two weeks:

PRONG 1: Identify Infections

The first step is to find people in the community who are infected with Covid-19. Proactive screening campaigns will be ramped up and antigen test kits will be used to try to quickly identify infections. Health officials will be brought in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Surat Thani and Phang Nga to assist in mass testing.

People found to have severe infections will be taken to the hospital and those with mild infections will receive medication on the spot, though it wasn’t confirmed if they would be moved straight to quarantine.

PRONG 2: Aunjai Clinic

The second step of the strategy was the establishment of a special clinic in Phuket that will act as the first point of contact for Covid-19 patients. The Aunjai Clinic will be a place to bring peace of mind and comfort to those recently diagnosed and unsure what to do next.

PRONG 3: Control Cluster Spread

The final step of the strategy is to focus on preventing large clusters of Covid-19 from spreading throughout Phuket communities. Lockdown quarantine in a “Bubble and Seal” style would be employed in areas suffering. Places like densely populated communities, fresh markets, and factories with workers often in close quarters would be the most likely targets of Bubble and Seal implementation.

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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