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Home isolation for some Covid-19 cases under categories 1 and 2 has started in Sibu. — File picture by Hari Anggara.
Home isolation for some Covid-19 cases under categories 1 and 2 has started in Sibu. — File picture by Hari Anggara.

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SIBU, Sept 3 ― Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee (SDDMC) has started home isolation for some Covid-19 cases under categories 1 and 2.

Divisional health officer Dr Teh Jo Hun said this was in view of the vaccination efforts in Sibu having achieved 231,348 (91.6 per cent) for the dose one and 223,825 (88.6 per cent) for the second dose.

“Home isolation has been practised in Kuching and other parts of Malaysia for the past few months. However, the criteria for home isolation are very strict and the health department would not allow everyone to undergo home quarantine.

“For example, we do not allow home quarantine for longhouse folk for a few reasons ― firstly due to communication factor, and secondly due to the distance from the longhouse to the hospital as well as probably the difficulties to find transportation especially after office hours.

“So that is why we are quite careful and selective,” he told a virtual press conference yesterday.

Category 1 Covid cases are those with no symptoms while Category 2 refers to those with mild symptoms.

Dr Teh explained that among the criteria for home quarantine are the patient has access to telephone and is contactable at all times; able to adhere to home isolation; other house occupants are not immunosuppressed; have personal transport; and not allowing visitors to the home.

He also said there must be a suitable caregiver in the house to ensure that the patient has meals, stays hydrated, gets sufficient rest and be able to clean and disinfect areas touched by the patient such as door knobs and the bathroom.

“If the patient’s condition deteriorates, they have to call 084-343333 (ext 1162) or any of the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) numbers 019-8987642 (office hours) or 019-7074365/019-7074391,” he said.

According to him, home isolation will only be allowed for those below 60 years old; those with no symptoms or mild symptoms; children above one year old; and no comorbidity or single stable comorbid (controlled hypertension, on one single diabetic medication, asthma with very stable for one year, non-obese, no target organ comorbidity, non-immunocompromised, pregnancy below 22 weeks, fully vaccinated).

The criteria for home isolation are quite similar to the criteria that can be found on the Health Ministry (MoH) website, he added.

Dr Teh urged that those who have been given this privilege to adhere to all the advice and instructions given by the doctors to ensure the safety of their family and loved ones.

“They should not leave their house and should notify the doctors in charge of them if they become sickly or have trouble breathing.

“The doctors who look after them will be calling them regularly. I am not saying every day as this depends on their workload, but at least two or three days in a week.”

He also said some patients may be given a home monitoring tool such as portable pulse oximeter which would have to be returned upon completion of the quarantine.

“The pulse oximeter might only be given to those with higher risk as Sibu Hospital is lacking this equipment at the moment,” he said.

He also said that in case of emergency, the patient should immediately contact Sibu Hospital on 084-343333 (ext 1162).

“We implore those without real emergency to give priority to those who are in emergency and may need to urgently contact these numbers.

“Please search for information on Covid-19 on the MoH website or on SDMC’s Facebook before calling the above numbers so as to avoid congesting the lines,” he urged.

Meanwhile, on the use of the rapid antigen saliva self-test kit, Dr Teh said due to the sensitivity of the kit, false positives may occur which is why a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be required to confirm the result.

“Therefore, those who come to our health facility with a positive rapid antigen saliva test kit will be swabbed or given appointment to undergo PCR swab, as well as a wristband and HSO (home surveillance order),” he said.

Also present at the press conference were Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, Sibu MP Oscar Ling, Senator Robert Lau, Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang, Pelawan assemblyman David Wong, Machan assemblyman Allan Siden Gramong, Sibu Resident Wong Hee Sieng, Sibu District Officer Suhaili Mohamed, Sibu Hospital director Dr Nanthakumar Thirunavukkarasu, and Kanowit district officer Kathreen Lalai Eddie Saga. ― Borneo Post

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