MoH plans to expand virtual CACs nationwide

 pic by BERNAMA

THE Health Ministry (MoH) is planning to expand the virtual Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) across the country to manage the spread of the virus nationwide following their success in the greater Klang Valley.

Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said the surge of infections in Klang Valley that took place in July had led to the formation of virtual CACs to allow the ministry’s medical team to monitor Covid-19 patients classified under Categories 1 and 2, which are deemed as mild cases.

“With the development of virtual CACs, the arrival of patients at physical CACs in the Klang Valley has lessened and is currently under control although the number of positive cases are still high.

“Following the success of virtual CACs in monitoring mild Covid-19 cases, the ministry is mulling plans to establish them in other states to manage the increase in infections nationwide,” Khairy said in response to a question from Sabak Bernam MP Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Khairy said at present, there are 209 CACs nationwide and the figure will change according to needs. More centres will be available if the number of Covid-19 patients increase in a specific locality.

“The number or capacity of patients that will be assessed at CACs depends on the situation at the district.

“Health departments at the state and district levels are responsible to determine the location for a CAC in a district.

“Community halls or stadiums will be transformed into a CAC if a locality records a high number of Covid-19 infections,” he added.

In a separate response to a query from Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, Khairy said MoH has spent RM593 million to date since the pandemic began to procure additional medical equipment for critical Covid-19 cases in the country.

He said among the equipment purchased include ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) beds required for the patients in critical condition.

“The amount does not include donations we have received from within and outside of the country which totalled to RM148 million,” he said.

To accommodate the surge of cases in several states, Khairy added that he had instructed for the formation of a rapid response task force in the country that can deploy more manpower to the area.

He said the ministry is mobilising 223 medical staff in Penang, 156 medical staff in Kedah and 102 in Sabah to manage the rise of infections.

“We will rotate the medical staff to ensure enough officers at locations that are facing a surge in cases and to avoid frontliners at the state from burnout,” he said.

He noted that MoH often observes the needs at hospitals to ensure they are equipped with sufficient medical equipment to handle the pandemic.

Among the measures taken by the ministry include emergency procurement and distribution of medical equipment nationwide such as ICU beds, high flow nasal cannula, vital sign monitor, ultrasound and body freezers, among others.

MoH is also taking necessary steps to reduce the number of brought-in-dead cases by enhancing local communities to ensure the leaders are aware of symptomatic Covid-19 cases in the area.