SDMC learnt few lessons from managing state’s Covid-19 situation – Uggah

A health worker arranges the samples gathered during the health screening.

KUCHING (Feb 10): The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has learnt quite a few lessons from managing the state’s Covid-19 situation particularly outbreaks that occurred in rural areas, said its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said one such lesson was from the Pasai Cluster in Sibu which was due to the committee permitting the positive case to isolate for home quarantine.

“At first I believe that it would be easy to control the situation at longhouses but my optimism was wrong and we found that there were issues and we learnt from there.

“This was also one of the reasons why we decided to bring all the negative contact from a longhouse in Miri to be quarantined in town because we learn that we cannot leave them at the longhouse as they can’t really stay in their rooms,” he told a press conference today.

He said another lesson was that the committee must ensure that all vehicles and manpower is sufficient in districts across the state.

“For instance in Sibu, there were about 100 plus longhouses and when there were so many cases, it really pushed our hospital staff into a very stressful situation because everything happened so fast,” he recalled.

The Deputy Chief Minister also shared that the SDMC task force led by Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu had yesterday presented a review on how the committee handled the state’s Covid-19 situation from February last year until today.

“We looked into where have we gone wrong, what standard operating procedures (SOPs) did not work, what SOPs needed to be tightened and preparation for the future especially on screening facilities,” he said.

He also said that in the past few weeks, some of the test samples required a six-day waiting period.

“This is not good because when those who were screened had to wait, they will wander.

“So we want to make it our KPI (key performance indicator) that our results must come out the latest within 48 hours,” he said.

However, he also noted that the state had limited Covid-19 screening facilities and as such needed to send sample to private facilities, universities and even to Kuala Lumpur for testing.

He said the state is now planning to upgrade some of its district hospitals such as in Kapit, Serian and Bau into hybrid ones.

“For instance in Kapit, they had to treat Covid-19 patients because of positive cases in the area but to do so, the hospital must have facilities.

“Right now, Kapit is a hybrid hospital and we plan to do so for all other district hospitals in the state,” he said.

Uggah also urged the public to do their part and not leave the management of Covid-19 solely to SDMC alone.

“We were given the understanding that a group of young people had gathered thinking that they might be immune to Covid-19. But a few days later, all ten of them tested positive.

“This is the experience that must be observed not only by the SDMC management alone but also the public because the virus can spread very fast,” he said.

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