New Laksi field hospital to focus on critical care
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New Laksi field hospital to focus on critical care

Workers build a field hospital for critical patients at 11th Military Circle in Laksi district on Saturday. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Workers build a field hospital for critical patients at 11th Military Circle in Laksi district on Saturday. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

A military camp in the capital is being turned into a field hospital for the increasing number of Covid-19 patients in critical condition and will be ready to accept patients by Friday as major hospitals struggle with overcrowded intensive care units (ICU).

Responding to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's order to find more beds for patients in Bangkok, the Ministry of Public Health has joined hands a number of private hospitals, the military, and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to set up a field hospital for critical patients at the Laksi district's 11th Military Circle.

The executive team on Saturday made a site visit to assess its readiness for use as a temporary critical care unit.

Bangkok governor Pol Lt Gen Aswin Khwanmuang said the military camp is ideal for modification as it already has 186 beds that can be used for seriously ill patients, including 58 beds that are suitable for use in ICU care.

He added that areas at the camp that have already been used to house patients with mild infections will be augmented with a better electrical system and computer network, together with improved wastewater disposal to bring into line with regulations governing the care of more critical cases.

"We do hope that everything will be complete by next week and the facility will be ready to welcome the patients on July 2," he said.

The temporary hospital in the military camp is a step up from the Ministry of Public Health's pilot project at Busarakam Hospital, which was originally set up for the purpose of taking care of moderately ill patients.

Medical staff from hospitals nationwide will be on duty to take care of over 2,000 patients at the new facility, which could rapidly be expanded to house a further 3,000 if the situation worsens.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the temporary hospital will have a negative pressure room, oxygen units, close circuit cameras, along with a specialist medical team from Thonburi Hospital.

He said the ministry was also eying other venues that might be suitable for similar conversions to house the growing number of critical patients.

Regarding calls for the closure of construction camps in Bangkok and other provinces in the south, he said the ministry is wary that such a move might lead to infected workers returning to their home provinces and further spreading the virus.

For now the ministry intends to wait while keeping a close eye on the situation.

Meanwhile, Bangkok has set up an urgent meeting, demanding for an act to communicate with those workers to stay at the place until the situation has already recovered.

In another development, Thammasat University's executive team has agreed to expand its field hospital due to increasing demand, Dr Chartchai Mingmalailak, the unit's director, wrote on its Facebook page.

The field hospital was originally scheduled to shut down by July, but all involved had agreed that it should remain in operation while infections are still high in the capital, he said.

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