Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol was speaking at a press conference yesterday (Aug 3) held at Phuket Provincial Hall presided over by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew and joined by Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon and other relevant officers.
“Dr Kusak explained last week that we have 520 rooms in LQ venues which we have since increased to 700 rooms,” Dr Chalermpong said. “Of that number, 616 high-risk people are currently staying in these rooms.
“Many people in Phuket have now received vaccination and, as a result, the number of red-zone or seriously ill patients is low.
“We currently have 276 beds allocated for yellow-zone patients. Right now, we have a very high bed occupancy rate for this group and the quota is almost full,” he added.
“All hospitals are trying to increase the number of beds to a sufficient level to cover patients, and we will have about 300 beds in the near future.
“Green zone patients account for about 75-80% of all the infected cases. These are the much less serious cases with minimal symptoms from both the delta and beta variants of the virus.
“Initially at the field hospital at Prince of Songkla University (PSU) there were only 150 beds but we have added a further 190 beds to reach maximum capacity in the hall. Over 180 people are currently staying here but the number of people coming in is not balance with the number of people being discharged,” he said.
“As a result, we are opening a second field hospital with 300 beds at Phuket Rajabhat University (PRU) which will be functional tomorrow (Aug 5).”
Dr Chalermpong added that the ‘Bring Phuket People Home’ project which had been suspended due to insufficient bed numbers will resume again soon. He also added that any green patients who are currently in LQ venues or home isolation will be taken into the field hospital.
“Ideally we do not want home or factory isolation in Phuket, as has been witnessed elsewhere in the country,” he said.
“We will work our best to control the outbreak and boost the trust of the people in our public health system.”
“We also need to ensure that we have the correct facilities in place for other patients requiring non-COVID related treatment for illness,” Dr Chalermpong added.
“We need to prepare ICUs for patients with other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Currently we have 33 ICU units which by the end of this week we will have increased to 53-55 units,” he concluded.
“With the intensive new measures that have been brought in to control the virus, I expect that within the next two weeks the number of people found infected will start decreasing,” Dr Kusak said.
“However, in order to reduce the numbers to zero or very low figures, it will take time. If we can get to around 10 new cases per day that will demonstrate that our measures are working effectively.
“Right now, we have two active clusters. One is in Baan Nanai, Thepkrasattri where a person became infected in the workplace and has since spread the virus to family members. This then spread to about 10 neighbours who are currently in a LQ venue.
“The other cluster was from fishermen. They tested positive but showed no symptoms. Subsequently, we have directed medical staff to conduct proactive case screening at piers and fish market,” he said.