By John Isaac
IN the first week of this month, 10 Covid-19 patients have died before they could receive treatment at a hospital.
The youngest to suffer such a fate this month is an 18-year-old girl who was brought in dead at the Selayang Hospital, Selangor. Her infection was compounded by asthma.
Her death was reported by the Health Ministry in its daily statistics yesterday.
According to Malaysiakini’s tracking, 22 people infected with Covid-19 were brought in dead in December last year.
Another 41 people were brought in dead in January this year.
That means since December, 73 out of the 512 recorded fatalities were brought in dead, slightly above 14 percent.
Early last month, Health Minister Adham Baba announced a change in strategy, where Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms are allowed to recover at home.
However, that also means that there isn’t a medical expert around to monitor if a Covid-19 patient’s situation deteriorates.
This was amid a spiralling number of Covid-19 cases, forcing the Health Ministry to pick who should be given priority for a bed at a hospital.
On Jan 27, a police officer who came down with Covid-19 died after undergoing home quarantine at home. He died on the sixth day of his quarantine.
The fatalities at home highlight the importance of the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC), which the government has set up in every district.
One of the largest CAC is at Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam, which can screen 1,500 people a day.
The CAC is tasked with evaluating whether a Covid-19 patient should be hospitalised, sent to a quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC) or allowed to recover at home.
Generally, patients who have more serious treatments will be sent to the hospital while those who are lower risk but still require monitoring will be sent to PKRC.
Those with mild are no symptoms will be allowed to quarantine at home. Correctly sorting the patients could mean life and death.
The Health Ministry has also advised Covid-19 patients who are allowed to quarantine at home to periodically update on their condition through the MySejahtera App.
They should seek immediate treatment if conditions deteriorate.
To date, the youngest Covid-19 patient to be brought in dead was a 15-year-old girl at Lahad Datu hospital.
Her death was reported on Dec 24. She was not known to suffer from pre-existing conditions.
The majority of Covid-19 patients who are brought in dead are mostly above 40 years old.
However, since January, there is an increasing number of younger Covid-19 patients who are being brought in dead.