Provincial hospitals 'coping'
The Ministry of Public Health says provincial hospitals are taking care of almost 100,000 Covid-19 patients transferred from Bangkok.
Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, chief of inspectors at the ministry, said 94,664 Covid-19 patients have been transferred from Bangkok.
He said many patients in the capital are also moving back to their home provinces for treatment due to the government's lockdown order.
"Due to the increasing number of imported cases [Covid-19 patients transferred to the provinces], we have seen an 80% occupancy rate for beds at hospitals in the central and eastern regions," Dr Thongchai said.
"At the national level, 156,189 beds or 73.49% of all hospital beds, excluding those in Bangkok, are already occupied."
"The situation is under control as we still have 41,185 beds available right now," he added.
"We also have sufficient medical staff and equipment for patients at provincial hospitals."
He said provincial hospitals are working to increase the number of beds, and staff are also turning community hospitals into specialised facilities to help treat Covid-19 patients to cope with the number of patients being transferred from Bangkok.
Patients who want to return to their hometown must contact local health staff to ask whether local facilities can treat them first before contacting agencies to arrange transport home, Dr Thongchai said.
In other news, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said it has formed a team of "Super Riders" to deliver medical kits to patients as part of the home isolation programme set up recently.
Each kit contains paracetamol, green chiretta herbal medicine, a thermometer, an oxygen pulse fingertip oximeter, surgical masks and hand sanitiser, he said, noting more than 100 kits have been delivered.
The home isolation programme, which allows some patients to recover at home, was set up to cope with bed shortages for Covid-19 patients in the kingdom.
In addition, Dr Opas said the DDC has told the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention to work with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to conduct Covid-19 screening for at-risk groups at Thupatemi Stadium, Rajamangala Stadium and the Army Club.
He said the goal is to test up to 4,000 people per day using antigen test kits, and those who test positive will undergo RT-PCR tests to confirm the results.