GEORGE TOWN, Nov 19 — The Penang government will be setting up more healthcare organisations (HCO) to dispense Covid-19 vaccine booster doses in the state.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said each HCO is capable of administering more than 1,000 doses a day.

Currently, there are 73 private clinics and hospitals, including one HCO, that are being used as booster dose vaccination centres in the state.

“The Penang state health department is now in the process of identifying suitable halls to be set up as HCO to increase the booster dose take up rates,” he said in a statement today.

Chow said those who turned up for their third dose appointments given through the MySejahtera phone app is considered low, placing it between 60 to 70 per cent.

He said Covid-19 infections in Penang are on the decline, noting that for the epidemic week 46, daily cases have been between 220 and 327.

“As at November 18, a total 327 cases were reported to the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) bringing the total cumulative cases in Penang to 149,797,” he said.

Chow said Penang currently has nine active Covid clusters. Three of them are from its manufacturing sector, two from workplaces, one from an educational institution, and the remaining three involve high risk groups.

On the medical facilities in Penang, Chow said the acute bed usage is at 37 per cent at the Penang General Hospital on the island and 34 per cent at the Kepala Batas Hospital on the mainland.

“The Intensive Care Unit bed usage for Covid-19 patients is at 53 per cent and all facilities are complete to face any eventualities,” he said.

Chow said the bed usage at the Covid-19 Low Risk Treatment and Quarantine Centre (PKRC) in Jawi is only at 17 per cent while the PKRC at Caring Society Complex is on standby and ready to be activated if needed.

He reminded the public that Covid-19 is still within the community and to always practice test, report, inform, isolate and seek (TRIIS).

He also reminded those given Home Surveillance Orders (HSO) through the MySejahtera app after they have tested positive to stay home as ordered even if they are not issued the pink bands.