Probe recurring outbreak

Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: The State Health Department has been urged to investigate the recurring Covid-19 outbreak at the Sentosa Hospital.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said it was essential to prepare the authorities for similar situations in the future.

“We pray for everyone in Cluster Sentosa. This is the second time Hospital Sentosa has had a Covid-19 outbreak and I was made to understand it is now locked down with all its staff and patients for 14 days.

“I have asked the State Health Department to investigate thoroughly apart from the routine epidemiology investigation, also how many of the staff and patients have been vaccinated,” he said.

He pointed out that all hospital staff were frontliners who should be among the earliest to receive the Covid-19 vaccine during Phase 1 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP).

He added it was also important to ascertain what type of Covid-19 vaccines they were inoculated with and how long they have been vaccinated.

Dr Sim also urged the Health Department to work closely with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) for a genomic study on the outbreak.

“This is not finger-pointing but to benefit from the investigation so that we can prepare ourselves (in the future), translate the outcome into policies and actions,” he said in a Facebook post.

The SDMC in its report on Wednesday announced the emergence of the Sentosa 2 Cluster involving workers and residents of the health facility.

It said a total of 181 individuals were screened and of the number, 52 were found to be infected with Covid-19 including the index case.

It said the remaining 129 individuals were waiting for their test results. The patients were treated at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRCs) in Kuching district.

In July last year, a similar outbreak occurred at the health institution leading to its closure by the authorities. It prompted active case detection (ACD) and close contact tracing activities with more than 600 individuals screened.