George Town: The Department of Health (MOH) will mobilize 200 frontline workers from other states to assist Penang amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Health Minister Kyrie Jamaluddin (Pics) said frontline staff would include medical staff, medical assistants and nurses.

“We hope the deployment of frontline personnel can be accelerated to assist Penang at this critical time,” he said today after a meeting with Penang’s chief minister, Chow Con Yeo.

He also said the first step would be to approve a 10-bed intensive care unit (ICU) at Kepla Batas Hospital and consider building a field hospital near Penang Hospital.

Khairi said he had been told that private hospitals were increasing the capacity of patients, especially those with COVID-19, to help first-line staff at public hospitals.

Hairy said it had obtained approval from private hospitals to add 300 beds, but his ministry was seeking an additional 1,000 beds for Covid-19 patients.

“Because the bed capacity of Covid-19 patients in private hospitals is currently 87%, while the use of intensive care units is 117%.

“The Ministry of Health needs private hospitals (for this) if they don’t have large capacities yet… but I don’t want to get to the point where we need them. We are still discussing with them to provide the necessary capacity because there are patients who can be treated in private hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hayri said the Health Ministry plans to make oxygen saturation detectors or oximeters available to everyone, especially young people in Categories 3 and 5 who are at higher risk.

He added that many cases involving young people are related to cases of hypoxia which is a complication of low oxygen levels and is a silent killer.

“Efforts include that we will increase the supply of oxygen detectors in the blood to those at high risk, whose first sign of hypoxia is an accelerated pulse.

“I also want the budget to be calculated immediately so that we can donate oximeters to families in need,” he said. Barnam

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