Hospitels -- alternative state quarantine hotels that provide rooms to Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms to save hospital beds for severe patients requiring intensive care -- are urging the government to accelerate its home isolation plan and implement a command centre to help patients at home as beds are fully occupied as the number of cases has crossed more than 10,000 cases for four consecutive days.
With the emergence of clusters in construction camps, around 400 beds at the Patra Hotel are now fully booked for patients with mild symptoms, a rise from just 50% occupancy rate previously, said Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun, executive director of Patra Hotel.
He said most hospitels are now overcrowded and hospitals are unable to send patients to other hotels due to a lack of health personnel and equipment.
Since patients who self-isolate at home cannot get chest X-rays, the government has to ensure that they will have adequate items for daily use and access to information to take care of themselves, he said.
Meanwhile, establishing a concrete command centre for home isolations will help ensure better communication with people who need further medical treatment.
Mr Thienprasit added that by becoming a hospitel, revenue has picked up by 10% compared to being a state quarantine hotel because facilities have to bear the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazard pay for staff.
As of yesterday, Bangkok had 81 hospitels providing around 20,000 beds, according to the Department of Health Service Support.
"Health care workers are dealing with more cases. Faster inoculations with a variety of vaccines are the only way out," said Teeranat Phaoharuhan, managing director at Royal Rattanakosin Hotel.
At present, all 316 beds at Royal Rattanakosin Hotel have been fully occupied by Covid-19 patients since Songkran. Moreover, each day, at least three to four patients are detected with lung infections and the hospitel has to move them to a partner hospital.
Mr Teeranat said the hotel has had to double the number of housekeepers compared to alternative quarantine facilities in which only 1% of guests test positive for Covid-19.
Supawan Tanomkieatipume, deputy managing director at the Twin Towers Hotel Bangkok, said around 70% of its 750 beds have been reserved and that the hotel can add another 50 beds.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration had offered another 4,424 beds at hospitels by the end of June, of which 250 beds were at the Twin Towers Hotel Bangkok.
"It's an urgent need to ease the burden on the public health system, so the hotel decided to join the programme," Ms Supawan said. "We cannot expect the same revenue as normal hotel operations but at least staff have jobs."