The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has confirmed that field hospitals were not established due to insufficient beds in hospitals but to prepare beds for patients with other diseases that require treatment, and patients with severe symptoms. Field hospitals have established a care system that meets safety standards. If there is a need for hospitalization, they are ready to be receive patients for immediate treatment.
Dr Weerawut Imsamran, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Medical Services, explained that the MOPH will focus on setting up a field hospital only in a province with an outbreak. Currently (figures at 4.30 p.m. on January 7), Samut Sakhon has 872 beds. The eastern provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and Chanthaburi have 444 beds each, 1,316 beds in total. Of these, 686 beds are occupied by asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. The MOPH aims to prepare 1,000 camp beds in each health area. The number of beds will rise because asymptomatic COVID-19 patients continue to arrive at hospitals for follow up treatment. Overall, the number of beds is sufficient but it is necessary to be prepared at all times to accommodate the rising number of patients. The selected areas must also be safe and suitable.
As for the difference between field hospitals and hospitals, Dr Weerawut said that field hospitals only care for asymptomatic cases. Patients who have stayed at a hospital for 5-7 days and have recovered will be transferred to a hospital with a system similar to general hospitals, but is situated at the main hospital and only cares for patients with severe symptoms. The MOPH will try to expand both sections in order to be able to accommodate all the patients. (NNT)