By Chew Lip Song
THE spike in Covid-19 infection among frontliners in the Sibu and Miri Hospitals has raised concerns about whether they are well protected against the virus.
Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said 21 healthcare workers from the Sibu Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19 since the Movement Control Order was declared in the town on Jan 16.
In Miri Hospital, 20 staff have tested positive.
“The high number of our medical frontliners in both Sibu and Miri Hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19 is causing the people to wonder if our health workers are well protected, well equipped and well trained to fight the pandemic,” she said in a statement today.
She also wants to know if the frontliners were provided with adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) such as the right type of masks, googles, respirator helmets, gloves and gowns.
Chang said if health workers were at risk of infection, the fight in containing the coronavirus outbreak would be hampered.
She was particularly concerned about staff in the hospitals’ emergency department as they were most at risk of infection. Most of the infected staff from the Miri Hospital were from the department.
“Also of much concerned is the interconnected ventilation system between zones and offices in the Emergency Department where the virus may be spread and hence, put the healthcare
workers and other patients at increased risk of contracting the disease,” she said.
Chang also called on the state’s Health Ministry to provide support groups for frontliners who may suffer from stress, anxiety and physical exhaustion in dealing with Covid-19.
“All this mental and emotional stress might lower their immunity and make them more vulnerable to infection,” she added.