GEORGE TOWN, Aug 18 — More than two in five Covid-19 patients warded in the state’s hospitals were in the most severe categories of infection, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

These ranged from Category Three, patients with respiratory infection, to the highest Category Five for patients requiring intensive care and ventilators.

He said Penang needed more beds to treat Covid-19 patients due to rising cases, leading to the opening of a High-Risk Patient Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC) at the Penang Caring Society Complex.

He said the government hospitals — Penang General Hospital, Bukit Mertajam Hospital and Seberang Jaya Hospital — have already opened up more wards for Covid-19 patients but still needed more beds.

“The opening of this PKRC at Caring Society Complex will prepare 97 additional beds for patients who needed oxygen as this centre will prepare oxygen for patients who needed it,” he said in an audio recording made available to the media by his office after his visit to the centre earlier today.

He said the Caring Society Complex, which is very near to the General Hospital, was in a strategic location especially if the patients need more intensive treatment.

“Work to convert this space into a PKRC started yesterday and the first ward will be ready to operate on this Friday,” he said.

Chow said the centre is still in need of medical and non-medical equipments to be fully equipped for the operations of the centre to run smoothly such as tents, swab booth, wheelchairs computers, printers, resuscitation beds, vital sign monitors, electrocardiogram, water dispenser, transport ventilator, manual defibrillator, syringe pump, medication cart trolley and many other items.

He called on corporations and private sponsors to donate these items to the centre by contacting Dr A. Lingeshwaran at 012-5944347 or Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid at 012-4073200 from the state health department.

He said donors can also contribute cash to the Penang Covid-19 Fund through its Maybank account 5570 546 209 30.

Penang hit a record high of 1,867 cases today.

Former Penang Health Department director Datuk Dr Asmayani Khalib, who is now the Health deputy director-general (Medical), said most of the cases were from factory clusters, screening of symptomatic cases and sporadic cases that are not linked to any clusters.

She said the high number of confirmed cases in Penang could be due to the state health department using results from antigen rapid test kits (RTK-Ag test) for the daily statistics.

“Out of the 1,867 positive cases, 1,257 cases are from the RTK-Ag tests, so we can see the RTK-Ag test results are more than 1,000 cases, that is why the number of cases are higher,” she said.

She said the RTK-Ag test results are faster than the PCR tests so that once there are positive cases, the individuals were immediately isolated to prevent spread.