By Chew Lip Song
THE majority of the Covid-19 cases from the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) cluster, the third largest in the state, are linked to the Kuching church gathering, and not because healthcare workers there contracted the virus from patients.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 29 out of the 56 cases (51.8 per cent) in the cluster were traced to the Kuching church gathering cluster, which has the largest number of positive cases at 176.
Out of the 56 cases from the SGH cluster, 35 have been discharged while another 21 still receiving treatment.
“The Health Ministry has identified 2,003 close contact of the patients from the cluster through active tracing. 1,950 health workers have been tested negative,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a media conference today.
The Kuching church cluster remains the largest with 176 cases including one new positive case today. The second largest cluster in Sarawak is the Italian cluster with 63 cases.
Meanwhile, he said Sarawak will be able to test up to 1,040 Covid-19 cases a day from early May, up from 898 now as the Health Ministry beefs up efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic in the state, which is among the worst-hit in the country.
Currently, there are four laboratories conducting Covid-19 screenings in the state. They are the SGH, Sibu and Miri Hospitals and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
“The SGH is expected to get a Lab Turbo machine by early May which has a capacity of 200 tests a day. The Bintulu Hospital will be able conduct tests from middle of next month and will have a capacity of 30-40 tests a day,” Dr Noor Hisham added.
If there is a need, he said the samples from Sarawak can be sent to Peninsular Malaysia or private laboratories for tests.
Currently, there are 18 hospitals in Sarawak conducting Covid-19 screenings, up from five during the first wave of Covid-19 in the state. SGH, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu hospitals have been designated to treat Covid-19 cases with a total of 736 beds, 63 of which are for critical patients and 112 ventilators.
Dr Noor Hisham also announced that there were 57 new cases nationwide today, bringing the total to 6,002. Two new fatal cases were also reported, including a 72-year-old man from Sarawak, bringing the total deaths nationwide to 102.