KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases dropped slightly in the last 24 hours to 26,832 but the number of deaths remained high at 37, amid a new wave of infections fuelled by the more contagious Omicron variant.

The Health Ministry (MoH) also said that of the deaths reported yesterday, 10 were brought in dead. As of today, a total 32,347 people have died of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

New daily cases were lower than the previous day’s record high of 28,825. A total of 3,200,672 people have been infected since the novel coronavirus first hit Malaysia.

The national average seven-day trend in positivity rate shot up by 44 per cent from the previous period, according to the CovidNow website.

Most states recorded a marked increase. Labuan, although a federal territory and not a state, saw a 311 per cent rise in the average positivity rate in the last week.

At state level, Sarawak led with a 75 per cent increase followed by Terengganu at 69 per cent and Kedah at 65 per cent.

Klang Valley’s positive rate in the last seven days rose by 41 per cent.

Hospitalisation rate

Hospitalisation rate has been stable despite the surge in cases, which public health authorities said underscores the effectiveness of vaccination.

Only 133 or 0.5 per cent of the new cases from the last 24 hours were classified as severe while the remaining 26,699 cases (99.5 per cent) were asymptomatic to moderately symptomatic.

Still, intensive care unit usage has reached over half the maximum capacity in Kuala Lumpur (65 per cent) and two other states — Johor at 65 per cent and Melaka at 50 per cent — the MoH said in a statement issued this morning.

Regular hospital bed utilisation is also on the rise in several states, some over its maximum capacity. Beds used for non-severe cases in Selangor is now at 104 per cent, Perlis at 101 per cent, Kelantan at 96 per cent, Perak at 91 per cent, Putrajaya and Johor at 82 per cent, Sabah at 79 per cent, Kuala Lumpur at 77 per cent and Penang at 50 per cent.

But the national bed utilisation rate as of midnight was 67 per cent while Covid-19 related use was at 65 per cent, according to the CovidNow website.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement that public hospitals remain capable of taking in both Covid-19 admissions and for non-coronavirus related treatment.

“In general, the MoH found all of its facilities at public hospitals can still treat both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 patients,” it said.