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This Is How The Health Ministry Categorises Covid-19 Patients

This Is How The Health Ministry Categorises Covid-19 Patients

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There’s a new virus spreading that’s making people sick. Some feel nothing but a tickle in their throats, while others find themselves rapidly approaching death’s door.

We’re pretty sure you’re aware of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the situation is understandably scary and confusing, knowing how the Health Ministry (MOH) tackles positive cases can alleviate some of those fears.

Persons Under Investigation (PUI)

You’re only considered a PUI if you meet either of the following criteria:

  • Travelled to / resided in foreign country within 14 days before the onset of illness
  • Close contact in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of Covid-19
  • Attended an event associated with known Covid-19 outbreak

Onset of illness in this case means an acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat

Additional symptoms that are deemed suspicious include difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain and fever that lasts longer than 3 days or recurring fever after 3 days.

Meanwhile, a close contact is defined as:

  • Health care associated exposure without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in environments related to a Covid-19 patient.
  • Working together in close proximity or sharing the same classroom environment with a confirmed patient
  • Traveling together with a positive case
  • Living in the same household as a Covid-19 patient

A person is only considered a positive Covid-19 patient with laboratory confirmation. Once they’re confirmed to have the virus, the Health Ministry then categories them into four levels.

Credit: Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

Stage 1 – Positive but no symptoms

No treatment required, just quarantine.

Stage 2 – Positive with mild symptoms

According to data released by the Health Ministry on 7th April, around 88% of positive Covid-19 patients are at Level 1 and Level 2.

Stage 3 – Positive with pneumonia, does not require ventilation

Stage 2 and 3 can be further classified based on the presence or absence of warning signs such as fever, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) and increasing C-reactive protein (CRP) – a blood test marker for inflammation in the body.

Stage 4 – Positive with pneumonia, requires supplemental oxygen

Only about 5% of Covid-19 patients in Malaysia are at Level 3 and Level 4, 

Stage 5 – Critically Ill with difficulty breathing, requires ventilation

5% of Malaysia’s Covid-19 patients are at this stage.

Medical personnel with a Covid-19 patient in ICU.
(Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

The treatment regime for Stages 2 to 5 differs as new evidence for treatment emerges. In Malaysia, the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine has been used for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Malaysia is also set to begin drug trials, specifically remdesivir, for Covid-19 treatment under a World Health Organisation mega-research.

Discharge of patient

A Covid-19 patient is discharged when at least 3 rounds of tests bring back a negative result.

Additionally, at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery of symptoms with no more fever (without medication) and improvement in respiratory symptoms. 

Malaysia’s fatality rate currently stands around 1.63%, which is significantly lower than the global rate around 5.6%. At the time of writing, Malaysia’s recorded positive Covid-19 cases stand at 3,963.

Remember to frequently wash your hands and practice social distancing. Stay safe, everyone!

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