COVID-19 Situation Update 5

Date: August 28st 2021

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Background

The current wave of the epidemic in Tak Province, bordering Burma, began in late June with large outbreaks detected in factories in the area. New cases have been continuously reported since then, and over 5,627 patients (+175 compared to the last weekly situation update) are currently in treatment for the disease, severely straining the medical system. On Friday, August 27th, there were 320 new cases diagnosed in Tak, with 263 of those in Mae Sot, home to the clinic, and the nearby districts of Phop Phra, Mae Ramat, and Tha Song Yang. Since April 1st, 2021, a total of 9,735 cases (+1,353 from the last weekly update) have been reported in the province (Tak Provincial Public Relations Office Page).

Since June 28th, the Mae Tao Clinic has been an official field hospital for the Mae Sot public health system, providing care for infected individuals deemed low risk for developing complications or severe disease. While MTC staff members are responsible for providing daily care, they work in partnership with medical staff of the Mae Sot Hospital and other Thai public health entities, closely monitoring patients for evidence of clinical deterioration and facilitating timely referrals if necessary. There are102 people infected with COVID-19 who are currently under MTC’s supervision, a decrease of 16 since the last weekly update. Since the start of the current wave, MTC has treated over 558 COVID-19 patients who have either been referred from the Thai health system, are staff from MTC and partner organizations or are residents of the surrounding communities.

As the number of infected persons in the Mae Sot area continued to increase, the local health system came under further strain. Thus, in order to help alleviate the pressure on the Mae Sot public health system, in early August, the MTC partnered with the Mae Sot Hospital to form a local COVID-19 control committee. The committee worked to establish alternate isolation systems for mildly ill patients or those without symptoms, thereby freeing up health facilities to care for those more severely ill and also to control community spread, while closely monitoring patients and facilitating timely referrals, if needed. Home isolation guidelines were also developed and disseminated to those being isolated and treated at home, in factories and in the community. The MTC, working closely with other members of the committee, began providing services for patients undergoing these alternative isolation procedures in the Tha Sai Luat District just west of Mae Sot city, bordering Burma. These include not only providing monitoring and assessments, along with referrals, for patients, many of whom live in remote areas, but also testing services for COVID-19, medical waste management, and food support.

In addition to the direct strains on the local public health system, the epidemic has also added other, severe, indirect strains on the health system. With health facilities forced to close or curtail their services to address the epidemic, those still operational have faced additional demands for non-COVID-19-related services, particularly for maternal and child health services. Thus, MTC made the decision to resume care for expectant migrant women, many of whom would otherwise face multiple challenges in accessing essential maternal and child healthcare, and has been working to put in place strict COVID-19 guidelines and protocols in place to ensure this can be done safely. These services were resumed on the 17th of August. In addition, in order that interruptions to essential child preventive health care be minimized, immunizations services for women and children will also be resumed on August 30th, again with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place, including controls on number of clients waiting at any given time. The clinic plans to closely monitor patient flows and gradually resume other essential outpatient services, particularly in reproductive health and antenatal care, as soon as it can safely be done.

Category Total case New case Referred to MSH Currently under supervision Recovered/

discharged

Clinical staff 63 1 5 9 53
Non clinical staff 98 3 11 8 90
Household contact 107 5 2 25 82
Surrounding community contact 72 13 4 25 45
Patient 41 20 2 22 17
RH delivery patients and their family 3 3 0 3 0
Field Hospital 174 11 6 11 168
Total 558 56 30 102 455

* Last updated on August 25th 2021

As of August 26th, 102 people infected with COVID-19 (91 staff members, household contacts, surrounding community members, patient and RH delivery patients, along with their household members, and a further 11 patients referred for management from the Mae Sot public health system) are in isolation[1] within the clinic compound. Those who have had close contact with patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection are also quarantined. A total of 455 people (+110 from the last weekly update) infected with COVID-19 have recovered and have been discharged after at least 14 days isolation and monitoring. The clinic is currently in the process of screening staff members who have recovered from COVID-19 to assess for potential longer-term impairments which may impact their ability to work prior to their return.

Clinical Services

To prevent and control further transmission clinical services, except the reproductive health care service, remain closed. Please refer to the Facebook pages of the Mae Tao Clinic (in English and Burmese), which will frequently be updated to incorporate the most up-to-date information as it becomes available, particularly during this current unpredictable situation.

There have been many inquiries about testing and vaccinations for COVID-19. Unfortunately, the clinic is unable to provide these services at the present time as they are all currently handled through the Thai health system. If you think you have been exposed and would like testing, please contact the Mae Sot Hospital call center Tel. 065-461-1120 or the COVID-19 call center Tel. 1330. To access COVID-19 treatment, you can register in the Thai health system through the call center Tel. 1130, extension number 14, or add the Line account @sabaideebot and follow further instructions. If you have tested positive using a rapid test (antigen test kit), please call migrant home isolation center at Tel. 065-476-9295 or 065-476-6560. Services are available in Burmese and the center will help provide services including monitoring and health assessments, food and medicine support, and transportation support, if necessary.

For the latest vaccine information, please visit the Thai Government Public Relations Department’s official Facebook page. In case you need assistance for maternal health care services (ANC, delivery care and PNC), please visit Mae Sot Hospital or nearest health posts. For those who are in need of assistance in management of non-communicable (chronic) diseases or HIV/AIDS, please contact Ms Sophia Hla (English, Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 081-037-5800 or Ms Sable Moe (Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 06-2945-6208. For information or to make an appointment for routine (non-COVID-19) immunizations such as hepatitis B, BCG (tuberculosis), or diptheria/tetanus/pertussis,, please contact Mr Pai Soe Moe (Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 09-4431-4984.

Education Program

Starting on August 2nd, 410 students are enrolled at CDC and the school has begun online learning sessions. There are currently 382 students currently participating in the CDC distance learning program. CDC has been encouraging parents of students to support their children to access education and meanwhile identifying a number of students in need of support for education.

Donations/Support

We are deeply thankful for all those that have and continue to support our work and the communities we work with. For those interested in doing so, please understand that as a COVID-19 field hospital in the midst of a serious epidemic, to ensure safety for everyone, we are very limited in what we are able to accept. We are currently not able to accept cooked food or individually purchased medicines. If you would like to donate clothes or bedding, we respectfully request that these are new and in their original packaging. The supplies that we are currently most in need of are listed below.

General Social Support
Dry food (rice; tinned fish; cooking oil; salt; yellow beans; chili powder; seasoning etc.)
Nutritional supplements (milk; milo)
New bedding (mat; pillow; blanket; mosquito net)
Medical Supplies
PPEs (surgical mask for medical use; face shields; medical/ hospital grade gloves; medical coveralls)
N95 face mask
Infrared Thermometers
Pulse oximeters
Surgical Scrubs
Disinfectants
Alcohol 70% + Glycerin 1% or Alcohol Gel
Lab Supplies
COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing Kits (approved by Thai FDA)*
Glucose test (50/box)
Hygiene Supplies
Personal Hygiene Kit (soap; shampoo; tooth paste & tooth brush; sanitation pad; toilet paper)

*The list of approved kits can be found on the Thai FDA website, here: https://www.fda.moph.go.th/sites/Medical/SitePages/test_kit_covid19.aspx

Please note that this list is dynamic and, given the rapidly evolving circumstances, will be frequently updated to reflect our changing needs and priorities. For further questions regarding donations, please contact the designated persons listed below.

Contact information

For general inquiries and donations, please contact the following:

  • Ms Nwe Ni (English, Burmese and Thai language), Tel. 084-820-3743
  • Ms Naw Annie (English, Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 089-916-5855
  • Ms Pattinee Suanprasert (English and Thai language), Tel. 087-677-1415

For media inquiries:

For clinical inquiries:

  • Ms Sophia Hla (English, Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 081-037-5800
  • Ms Wah Kuh Paw (Burmese and Karen language), Tel. 089-961-7316

For those interested in supporting our COVID-19 emergency response efforts directly: this can be done through deposits/wire transfer to the following account:

Account Name: Suwannimit Foundation for Mae Tao Clinic
Account Number: 016-8-83807-7
Bank and Branch: Kasikorn Bank, Mae Sot
SWIFT Code: KASITHBK
Bank Address: 84/9, Prasart Withi Rd., Mae Sot, Tak Province 63110, Thailand

For more donation information, please visit our donation page: https://maetaoclinic.org/how-to-help/donate/ or contact at fundraising@maetaoclinic.org

[1]  Isolation is used for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive for the virus.