The Public Health Ministry and medical-school hospitals are working together to set up at least 1,000 beds at field hospitals nationwide to keep asymptomatic Covid-19 people under observation.
The aim is to keep as many asymptomatic people as possible from passing the virus to others as the number of infections runs into hundreds each day, says the Department of Medical Services (DoMS).
The infected people tend to be diagnosed with the virus when they come to hospital and seek treatment for other illnesses.
As of 4.30pm on Thursday, 686 out of all 1,316 beds at field hospitals being operated in provinces with a high number of Covid-19 cases -- Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong, Trat and Chanthaburi -- were occupied by Covid-19 patients, said Weerawut Imsamran, deputy director-general of the DoMS.
The field hospital in Samut Sakhon, dubbed the epicentre of the second wave of the Covid-19 infections, alone has 872 beds, he said.
The field hospitals are intended for asymptomatic patients, while those who develop symptoms or whose condition later deteriorates after being admitted to a field hospital will be transferred to hospitals dedicated to Covid-19 treatment, he said.
Once treatment at the field hospitals ends, a process which normally takes five days to a week, patients will later be transferred to Covid 19-specialised hospitals for standard 14-day quarantine, he said.
The existing field hospital beds are sufficient given the current number of confirmed Covid-19 cases; but more need to be added in the event the outbreak intensifies, he said.
The ministry is working with medical-school hospitals and the local administrative and security authorities in the provinces needing field hospitals to ensure health safety and security standards are maintained at the temporary healthcare facilities, he said.
Healthcare workers at the field hospitals use communication technology to talk to patients under their care to avoid face-to-face contact, he said. For safety reasons, all patients at the field hospitals are monitored around the clock using a security camera system, he said.
"These Covid-19 field hospitals are where asymptomatic patients are being treated so they won't risk spreading the virus to others," he said. "Believe me, these facilities operate with the highest standard to keep the virus from leaking."