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Penang state exco Norlela Ariffin speaks to the press during the launch of the Covid 19 Emergency Careline at Dewan Pintar, Guar Perahu September 9, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang state exco Norlela Ariffin speaks to the press during the launch of the Covid 19 Emergency Careline at Dewan Pintar, Guar Perahu September 9, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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SEBERANG PERAI, Sept 9 — There are about 9,000 Covid-19 positive cases who are under home quarantine in Penang and a majority of these cases have refused to be sent to the low-risk Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centres (PKRC), Penang state exco Norlela Ariffin.

The state health committee chairman said these are official figures from the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) and unofficially, there could be more who are under self-quarantine at home.

She said a majority of these cases have refused to go to the PKRC despite being advised to do so especially for those in categories one and two or those with minor symptoms.

“About 80 per cent of these cases were advised by the CAC to go to the PKRC but they refused to do so, most of them chose to stay home and this is worrying as it could lead to an increase of brought in dead (BID) cases,” she said in a press conference at the launch the state’s Covid-19 Emergency Careline at Taman Guar Perahu in Permatang Pauh.

She said there are still beds available at the various PKRCs in the state due to the reluctance of many cases in being sent there.

“There are some patients who were even admitted into wards in the government hospital but they run away, refused to be admitted,” she said.

She said some patients may not have any symptoms but their oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels might be low and some could collapse fatally at home due to this.

“So, if they are in the PKRC, there are medical personnel who will be on standby to help if they need it,” she said.

She said this is also where the Penang Covid-19 Emergency Careline comes in to help Covid-19 patients who are under home quarantine.

Whenever a Covid-19 patient calls 999 for assistance, if it is not an emergency case, the contact number of the patient will be forwarded to the Penang Covid-19 Emergency Careline.

Norlela said non-medical volunteers have been trained to call the patients immediately and to obtain further information from the patient on their conditions.

“They are not medical personnel, so they will take down the data and information and submit the medical personnel to evaluate the situation of the patient,” she said.

She said for those who require ambulance or oxygen treatment, there are five to seven high-risk Covid-19 patient transport vehicles and ambulances available for this purpose.

“For those who need oxygen treatment for a few hours, they can get their oxygen treatment in these vehicles and we have ambulances to send those who need it to the hospital,” she said.

The emergency care line started on August 28 and till September 8, it has handled a total of 318 cases where the patient transport vehicles with oxygen treatment have been dispatched 92 times, ambulances have been dispatched 49 times, and 95 of the patients were referred to the CAC for further action.

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