60% of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients occupied

60% of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients occupied

Nurses remotely monitor patients being treated for Covid-19 at Lerdsin Hospital on Jan 6. The rapid increase in Covid-19 infections is rapidly filling hospital beds across the country. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard, Bangkok Post)
Nurses remotely monitor patients being treated for Covid-19 at Lerdsin Hospital on Jan 6. The rapid increase in Covid-19 infections is rapidly filling hospital beds across the country. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard, Bangkok Post)

About 60% of the 180,000 hospital beds reserved for Covid-19 patients across the country were now occupied, a senior health official said on Friday

Department of Medical Services director-general Somsak Ankasil said the rise in Covid-19 infections was causing public concern about the public health system and the availability of  beds.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had instructed the department to cooperate with other agencies in effectively managing the use of the beds.

The country had about 180,000 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients and 60% were occupied, Dr Somsak said.

This was a sudden increase.

On Wednesday, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said 49.1% of all hospital beds available for Covid-19 patients were occupied.

Dr Somsak said most Covid-19 infections were children and people in the workforce. More than 90% of infected people had mild symptoms and 50% were asymptomatic.

Most Covid-19 fatalities were elderly people and those in fragile groups, such as people with chronic disease and bed-ridden people who caught the virus from people close to them.

Dr Natthaphong Wongwiwat, deputy director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said the number of infections kept rising. Most cases were in the green group with no or mild symptoms. Therefore, there were still hospital beds for people with severe symptoms.

Dr Natthaphong said people with no symptoms were being put into home isolation (HI) where possible. Those whose antigen tests were positive need not to take RT-PCR tests  but should contact hotline 1330.

If they were asymptomatic, they would be assigned for HI. If that was not possible, they would be sent to a community isolation (CI) centre, Dr Natthaphong said.

If their condition was severe, hospitals that took care of CI centres would contact hospital bed centres and main hospitals, or hotline 1669, he said. 

Tthe Public Health Ministry reported that as of Feb 24 there were 142,044 beds across the country for Covid patients in level 1, with 89,141 beds occupied or 62.8%. For patients at level 2.1, with severe symptoms, there were 24,456 beds, with 5,104 beds occupied (20.9%)

There were 5,633 beds for patients in level 2.2, with 703 beds occupied, or 12.5%. For patients at level 3, there were 2,158 beds, with 419 beds occupied, or 19.4%.

Overall, there were 174,291 beds, with 95,367 beds occupied, or 54.7%. There were 69,278 infected people in the HI system and 24,369 patients in CI centres.

In Bangkok and adjacent provinces where there were more than 3,000 infections a day, there were 69,682 hospital beds, of which 36,454 were occupied, or 52.31%. There were 47.69% of beds available.

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