PHUKET: Some 1,100-1,200 new Covid-19 cases per day have been reported this week in this southern island province where local health authorities are now advising the vast majority of those infected to self-isolate and be treated at home.
Provincial health chief Koosak Kookiatkul said yesterday that more than 600 of the week's daily infections were in local communities while others were visitors who entered the province through the Sandbox or Test & Go programmes.
Given that about 98% of new cases were asymptomatic or only had mild symptoms -- due to being Omicron infections -- the vast majority are being advised to enter home isolation and treatment until recovery, said Dr Koosak.
"Thousands of people in Phuket are receiving treatment at home. Health officials in all districts are supplying favipiravir and other medications to treat symptoms," he said.
These medications are available at sub-district hospitals, he said, adding that favipiravir is intended for only symptomatic cases and patients who are elderly or have underlying illnesses.
Vachira Phuket Hospital, the island's largest state-run hospital, meanwhile, has begun classifying all Covid-19 infected patients admitted for treatment into two groups to better manage them, said Dr Supphalak La-ongphet, deputy director of the hospital.
One group are patients with moderate symptoms while the other group are those with underlying medical conditions, which normally heightens their risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms, Dr Supphalak said.
The high-risk group -- including young children and pregnant women -- are being given priority when admitted so they can be treated promptly, Dr Supphalak said. Covid-19-infected patients with a history of chronic respiratory disease will be admitted directly to the respiratory disease clinic to better treat them, she said.
Dr Koosak said given the sharp increase in Omicron infections nationwide, people should be taking precautions to better protect themselves from contracting the virus.
About 58% of Phuket's population has received a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while about 20% of children aged 5-11 years have received their first shot, she said.