The Chonburi Department of Public Health announced a new confirmed case of Covid-19 this morning, a medical worker at Banglamung (Pattaya area) Hospital who cares for state quarantine Covid-19 patients.
The medical worker has a persistent cough and has been quarantined. Initially, eleven close contacts of the medical worker have all been quarantined and tested and all eleven are negative for the Covid-19 virus. They will, however, remain in quarantine for two weeks out of precaution.
State quarantine is for people being repatriated from overseas and who have to serve a two week quarantine. Those who test positive for Covid-19 are transferred to a hospital for care which is where the new patient works. In Thailand, even asymptomatic patients must get medical care or observation and cannot self-isolate.
The new patient has limited timelines and general exposure, according to the Public Health Department. Five low-risk contacts have been identified and two have been tested negative, the other three are pending. All have been isolated out of precaution.
More than half the state quarantine returnees in Thailand come through Chonburi and the Pattaya area, with the health department noting concern from local residents that the already hard hit city that is nearly totally dependent on tourism could not afford another shutdown or restrictions due to any potential quarantine or hospital related outbreak.
The public health department is looking into how the case took place and taking additional precautions and using the case as a learning opportunity for hospital staff, reminding them of the importance of proper precautions and using personal protective equipment properly.
Chonburi health officials have asked the public not to panic at this time. The case comes only one day before a decision is set to be made to likely drop the province from an orange zone to a yellow zone in terms of risk assessment from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration. It is unclear (but unlikely) if this new case would affect the decision.