Dr Witita said yesterday (Jan 13) that the number of people across the island confirmed to be infected with Omicron continued to spiral upward.
However, she added, “The lack of serious infections is why provincial authorities are placing emphasis on Home Isolation Treatment, so we can reserve hospital beds for critically ill patients.”
Dr Witita noted local health officials had been monitoring the rising number of new infections since the New Year celebrations.
“But from the analysis of the data we have found that most of the infected, more than 95%, were ‘Green’ patients. That is, there are no symptoms at all or that there are very few symptoms,” she said.
“And only 0.5% to 1% required admission to the ICU, or were Red patients. It can be confirmed that Omicron is a much less dangerous virus strain than Delta,” she added.
“This may be due to many factors. For example, a lot of the people of Phuket have received vaccinations. This may have helped create group immunity, and now when an infection occurs the body can react quickly, so the person is infected but not seriously ill,” Dr Witita explained.
Dr Witita pointed out that initial preparations for treatment of people infected in the latest outbreak saw every government hospital set up a special respiratory clinic.
“But from the increase in the number of infected people in Phuket, which has been in the hundreds each day, this service in each hospital is not enough,” she said.
“Therefore, we would like to emphasise that people should help each other strictly maintain personal protection measures, such as wearing a mask, washing their hands and not being in a crowded community. Avoiding eating with others will also help. We believe that no matter which strain of the virus it is, this will help prevent it from being able to enter the body,” she added.
To help alleviate the caseload on local hospitals, the government is calling for all local people who test positive by ATK (antigen test kit) to contact the Aunjai Clinic, set up at the Auditorium of the new Phuket Provincial Hall on the south side of Phuket Town.
“The Aunjai Clinic provides services for those who have tested positive for ATK and can travel to the Aunjai Clinic for treatment,” Dr Witita said.
“In addition to the Aunjai Clinic, the Phuket Covid-19 Call Center hotline has been opened at 076-254200 to provide advice on treatment guidelines or coordinate referrals for infected people to receive treatment according to the standard procedure,” she said.
“The Phuket Covid-19 Call Center hotline has staff who also speak English. A foreigner can press 88 [when asked by the recorded service], and the service will be available in English.
“This is for the convenience and confidence of the people of Phuket and tourists who are staying in the Phuket area now,” she added.