Public health authorities in Chiang Mai have now placed their people on high alert following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the province. This is after daily cases have surpassed the 200-case mark.
As of Tuesday, the CCSA had reported that there were 260 new cases in the capital alone. This brings Chiang Mai’s cumulative total to 1,260 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
While Chiang Mai’s provincial authorities are expressing concern about the rapid rise in cases, the national government sees no need for more drastic action for now. According to the Department of Disease Control, there is no need to declare a nationwide lockdown similar to the one imposed by the emergency decree beginning April of last year.
According to the DDC, there are still provinces that remain relatively COVID-free. This, the department’s representatives say, proves that a nationwide lockdown is unnecessary as of this moment.
Authorities in Chiang Mai, however, are painting a different picture.
The province’s public health chief, Dr. Chatuchai Maneerat, said that there is a risk that hospitals will become overloaded if cases continue to rise to 200 per day levels. This means that medical institutions will find it difficult to handle incoming cases and providing adequate treatment to each patient.
Dr. Chatuchai said that there are already 200 people who have been admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19, and the provincial field hospital set up for the purpose of treatment has only 1,000 beds available.
He added that 600 people so far have already been tested and found positive for COVID-19 since the start of the third wave.
To prepare for a possible surge in cases, the provincial communicable diseases committee has issued the order to add another 1,000 beds to the new field hospital.
On the other hand, provincial governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansat said that they are working to establish another field hospital given the drastic rise of daily cases reported. He added that they might have to initiate additional preparations to deal with the situation in case it worsens.
He said that there is room for 300 more beds at the Chiang Mai University field hospital, and 120 more beds at the territorial defense student training school.
The governor also acknowledged the receipt of 500 cardboard beds from the private sector. He also urged donations through the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Center.
Because of the situation, the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital has urged patients to postpone face-to-face appointments unless necessary. This is after it was found that the rise in cases was caused by congestion in public transport and social activities in event venues.
Instead, the Hospital urged patients and their physicians to conduct consultations through video-call services to avoid straining the hospital’s resources.
The dean of Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Bannakij Lojanawpiwat, said that 11 of its members have been infected with the virus. As a result, people who have been in close contact with these faculty members have been ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine.