“Right now, our CCC [at Phuket Prison] has a full capacity for 420 people, and 260 people are now staying there. We have space left for only 160 more people to be quarantined at the centre,” V/Gov Pichet said during a live broadcast from the Phuket Sandbox Emergency Operation Center (EOC) located at the Phuket Provincial Police headquarters in Phuket Town.
“We have no idea how many more people we will find test positive,” he added.
The old Phuket Prison in Phuket Town, more than 100 years old, is one of four “COVID-19 Care Centers” set up across the island where people who have tested positive for COVID-19 only by an antigen test kit (ATK) and are not presenting any sign signs of infection are being held, following a new policy launched last week.
“So, the Phuket Governor has planned to set up the three-story building for car parking at the Provincial Hall to be another CCC and assigned the PPAO [Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, or OrBorJor] to set up the building [for use as a CCC],” he said.
Also present at the broadcast this morning were Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPAO) Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, PPAO Deputy President Thiwat Sidokbuab, and other high-level officials.
“Yesterday, we tested 47 people ‒ 12 Thais and 35 migrants ‒ on a fishing boat, and 16 people tested positive by the antigen test kits ‒ 4 Thais and 12 migrant workers. We usually find that 30-40% of the target group we test are infected,” Dr Kusak said.
“Last week, we tested workers on three boats and found 95 people infected. However, I would like to mark that 99% of the 95 people are still healthy and do not have any symptoms of the disease,” he added.
“The 95 people have quarantined on their boats, and our health officers frequently go to check them and provide medicine for those who have light symptoms. They may be happier with quarantine on boats than being in our field hospitals,” he said.
“People staying at the CCC [at Phuket Prison] are mostly healthy. They even play football and table tennis together,” he added.
“However, the CCC has a full capacity of 460, but right now some parts of the venue are not ready to open yet, so the full capacity right now is 420 people,” Dr Kusak said.
“We have 260 people staying there, and 31 people have been discharged. We have space left for 160 more people. I believe that if we test migrant workers from two to three boats more at the fishing ports, we will reach full capacity soon,” he said.
“We will need people to quarantine on their boats to help us lighten the load of people staying at the CCC, and right now we have two to three workers’ camps under a ‘Bubble and Seal’ [isolation] measures across the island,” he noted.
PPAO Deputy President Mr Thiwat said that PPAO staff will continue their efforts to complete readying the yet-to-open areas at the old prison in Phuket Town so that more asymptomatic patients can be held there.
“Today, we will develop the yet-to-open parts of the CCC, which are two buildings and toilets,” he said.
“I would like to explain that for the water used for showers at the CCC, health officers test the water before it is released into the public water drains, so there will be no virus released into our community by the water for sure,” Mr Thiwat said.