“We have had nine deaths from COVID-19 so far [since Apr 3*]. This is such a sadness,” Dr Kusak said during a live broadcast this morning (July 14) led by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.
Of note, Phuket also suffered three deaths attributed to COVID-19 during the outbreak on the island last year.
“In this past week, there were two deaths from COVID-19 infection,” Dr Kusak continued.
“The first case was a 57-year-old woman who had been under care in hospital for one and a half months. She had a chronic disease and severe infection in lungs,” he said.
“The second one was a bedridden patient, 92 years old, who had received treatment in hospital for two and a half months. Doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital did their best to save [the patient],” he added.
“The deaths [in the latest outbreak] were mostly people who were elderly or had one of the seven dangerous diseases. They were at risk to die from infection,” Dr Kusak said.
The Ministry of Public Health recognises seven types of medical conditions in determining whether people are “at-risk” of infection: chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Such “at-risk” people were targetted for vaccination against the virus, yet Dr Kusak today did not clarify whether either of the two latest deaths had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
“Yesterday, we had two new cases of infection. The first one was a Thai person who just came from Bangkok, which is a ‘dark red’ zone [with “highest control” COVID prevention measures].
“The other case was a South African arrival who came here under Phuket Sandbox scheme,” Dr Kusak said.
“Since the opening [of the Phuket sandbox scheme] on July 1 through to July 13, we have had 61 cases of infection, 54 Thais and seven Sandbox arrivals,” he continued.
“Among the seven cases, we had one case test positive on arrival, the other six were found positive in their second test on Day 6/7 [after arriving]. One was from the UAE, three from Myanmar, two from South Africa, and one from Switzerland,” he added.
“For the treatment and disease control measures, we treat them the same as we do for Thai people. There is no difference or privilege. They must go through the treatment in hospital, while high-risk people need to quarantine at a local quarantine venue,” Dr Kusak said.
“Right now, we have 313 high-risk people in quarantine in 300 rooms at three hotels which are local quarantine venues,” he noted.
“So far, we have had 5,368 arrivals under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, and we have found only seven cases of infection among them, or about 0.14%, which is a very low number. The number is less than the rate that we can handle,” he said.