Hospitals in 14 provinces to serve city cases

Hospitals in 14 provinces to serve city cases

Covid overloading resources in capital

People wait for Covid-19 treatment services for outpatients at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
People wait for Covid-19 treatment services for outpatients at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Public Health Ministry is working with local hospitals in 14 provinces to handle the rising number of Covid-19 patients in Bangkok, which are overloading resources in the capital.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, said on Thursday that tens of thousands of people have called the 1330 hotline set up by the National Health Security Office (NHSO) asking for medical treatment for home isolation.

The spike in calls prompted the ministry to offer all hospitals under its responsibility to serve outpatients based on the self-isolation system, he said.

"We have been concerned because there are around 50,000 pending cases waiting to access our outpatient self-isolation service in the capital.

"To ease their difficulties, we have decided to open acute respiratory infection [ARI] clinics in our hospitals in 14 provinces near the capital so that patients who meet with difficulty in contacting the 1330 service can go there directly to access our medical treatment system," he said.

Dr Kiattiphum said anybody who tests positive for Covid-19 can walk into any of the ARI clinics at the hospitals, including those run by the Department of Disease Control and the Department of Mental Health. The medical team will provide full-course medicines for them to take home and practice self-isolation.

"Those who are infected can receive this starting today. We hope to see a better situation in the capital within the next two weeks after implementing this measure," he added.

The ministry said it can take care of 18,650 cases a day in all of the hospitals in the 14 provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Suphan Buri, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao.

It also admitted that only 29,688 of the 59,614 callers who rang on Wednesday were able to contact officers for help, a success rate of just 28%.

Anutin Charnvirakul, the public health minister, said he was aware of the problem, adding the ministry has added 700 more staff to field calls.

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