PUTRAJAYA: The COVID-19 screenings in Sabah is conducted on five per cent of the population in localities, focusing on active clusters and risk groups, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said screenings could not be done on the entire population of Sabah, which amounted to almost four million people.
“The screening is based on locality. For example, the Semporna area. So five per cent of the total population of Semporna will be screened.
“Usually it’s five per cent, but if there is a need, it will be increased to 10 per cent (from the total population of a locality),” he said during his press conference on COVID-19 at the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) here today.
Dr Noor Hisham said the MOH also looked at clusters in a particular locality and conducted more screenings there.
“When we (Health Ministry) continue to screen them naturally we pick up more (COVID-19) cases. We will continue to do this (COVID-19 screening),” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham gave the Benteng Lahad Datu cluster as an example, where 1,065 positive COVID-19 cases were detected and 16,488 people were screened.
“Screening is done everyday,” (in Benteng Lahad Datu cluster) he said.
On the rising number of COVID-19 patients being diagnosed in Sabah, Dr Noor Hisham said the number of patients being discharged had also picked up.
“So that balances things up in terms of capacity in our hospitals (in Sabah),” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said nine hospitals had been identified to treat COVID-19 patients in Sabah.
“These are not COVID-19 hospitals, but rather hybrids, because we also treat non-COVID-19 patients there.
Today we started a field hospital to treat non-COVID-19 patients, and with that, Tawau Hospital can focus more on COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said some non-COVID-19 patients were also being transferred to private hospitals with the Health Ministry bearing the cost, to ensure that government hospitals could continue to focus on the pandemic.
He said the Health Ministry also had also mobilised 796 staff to Sabah to ensure the public health and medical system could cope with treating patients and containing the spread of the disease in the state.
“A total of 5,000 medical and health personnel have also applied to be volunteers. The Health Ministry has shortlisted about 300 of them and they need to be interviewed,” he said.