Dr Kusak, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), revealed the cluster yesterday (July 29), when 17 senior patients were transferred from the home, officially called the “Social Development and Welfare for Elderly Persons Project Phuket Province”, to hospitals for care and observation.
Of the 74 elderly residents and 29 staff members at the home, tested positive by ATK on Wednesday (July 27), Dr Kusak said.
Those who tested positive were isolated from the other elderly people staying at the home, and further tests confirmed that in total 45 people at the home were infected, he said.
One elderly person was admitted to Thalang Hospital due to complications, but so far no seniors staying at the home have died from COVID infections, Dr Kusak said.
“At risk persons [at the home] are being tested every three to five days, while the others are being tested every week,” he said.
“Health officials have continued their investigation and no more infections have been found,” Dr Kusak added.
Visits from outsiders have been suspended over the long weekend and elderly staying at home are not permitted outside except for receiving medical treatment, said Phuengphan Phaochinda, Director of the state-run home.
Seniors staying at the home travelling outside for medical care may explain how infections were brought to the home, she said.
“Every elderly person has a congenital disease and they must be taken to various hospitals for treatment, so this may be one of the reasons why the elderly have become infected with COVID-19 from outside,” she said.
“However, now that COVID-19 had been detected here, infected patients have been separated from the general group, and staff at the Pa Khlok Community Health Centre and Thalang Hospital are providing treatment for the symptoms,” she added.
“All the elderly people infected have undergone x-rays of the lungs to determine the severity of the infections,” Ms Phuengphan said.
People visiting family members or friends staying at the home are being screened by officers before being permitted to enr the facility, Ms Phuengphan added.
“All internal staff, such as cooks, drivers and care-providers are required to be tested for COVID every week.” she assured.
Random tests for COVID will continue, Ms Phuengphan said.
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