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Morgue space runs out at Hospital

Thammasat University Hospital is planning to obtain two freight containers as it is running out of space to store the remains of Covid-19 victims in its morgue amid the spike of new infections in recent weeks.

The move came as the country’s leading physician urged the public to take up any jab that is available to them — as opposed to waiting for a supposedly superior vaccine to arrive later on in the year.

In a post on its Facebook page, the hospital said it expected the number of new cases to exceed 10,000 in the coming days, as authorities are ramping up pro-active testing at high-risk areas.

The number patients which require treatment at the hospital have also increased, with four Covid-19 patients having had to be revived by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the emergency room before they were transferred to the intensive care unit, the post said.

As the hospital accepts referrals from across Pathum Thani and further afield, its morgue has been flooded with autopsy requests, both on those which had died at the hospital and at home, to determine if their deaths were caused by Covid-19.

As a result, the hospital will rent at least two freight containers to securely store the bodies.

The Facebook post said: “We want to let people know the real situation we’re facing and will be facing in the next week or so.” 

To prevent contagion at the hospital, a 150 square-metre negative pressure chamber has been built in the emergency room, where Covid-19 patients and those at high risk of infection are isolated from other patients, the post added. 

Meanwhile, Prof Prasit Watanapa, dean at the Faculty of Medicine of Siriraj Hospital and adviser to the government, urged unvaccinated people not to wait around for an alternative vaccine.

He said most critically-ill Covid-19 patients who are currently being treated at Siriraj Hospital had only received one dose of vaccine, or none at all.

About half of them showed signs of severe lung infection by the time they were admitted to the hospital.

“Alternative vaccines can be obtained later as a booster, if needed,” he said, adding waiting for a supposedly “superior” vaccine is “not worth the risk”.

“People should get vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity,” Dr Prasit added.

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