An unsung hero of the rising Covid-19 cases in Chonburi province, rescue workers in Chonburi, many of them unpaid volunteers, have been stretched to the limit transporting Covid-19 positive patients and unfortunately some Covid-19 victims.
The Chonburi Department of Public Health announced 459 new and confirmed cases of Covid-19 today with one new death, July 13th.
The Dragon rescue team is one of several groups of rescue workers who are working hard 24 hours a day with limited rest and long shifts transporting Covid-19 patients across the province in ambulances. The team was previously primarily involved in local accidents and rescue operations but has been heavily utilized by Chonburi authorities to transport Covid-19 patients to and from hospitals, hospitels (former alternative state quarantine centers), and field hospitals.
Unfortunately, the team is also the main transportation unit for those who tragically lost their lives due to Covid-19, delivering bodies to local temples, often for an immediate cremation.
Due to Covid-19 precautions and measures, leaving bodies for traditional funerals is often not an option and bodies must be disposed of as soon as possible, according to the Dragon rescue team.
The Dragon rescue team is being used to transport up to hundreds of people a day, along with several other rescue teams in the Chonburi area. Although a vast majority of cases are coming from factories, markets, and migrant worker communities, many with their own field hospitals on-site, this is not the situation with all cases. When local ambulances can be heard in the distance, this is often Dragon rescue transporting patients to medical care. Under Thai Department of Public Health policy, almost all patients, with a few exceptions in Bangkok, must be taken to medical care and supervision, even if they are asymptomatic.
However, this policy is slowly changing for those who have the ability to safely self-isolate and have mild to asymptomatic conditions, but for now is primarily available only in Bangkok, leaving Chonburi patients to continue to be transported to available medical facilities.
The Dragon Rescue team has been performing these duties since Covid -19 began at the beginning of last year in Mueang Chonburi, Pan Thong, Ban Bueang, and Panat Nikhom District. With a significant increase in patients over the past several months, however, their workload has majorly increased.
In Banglamung and Pattaya, Sawang Boriboon Rescue Teams cover the majority of the local area but all rescue teams have been going above and beyond transporting patients, wearing PPE at all times, risking their own health by constant exposure to Covid-19 patients, as a major factor in Thailand’s fight against Covid-19.
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