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Jakarta Post

Dr. Moewardi hospital in Surakarta offers free COVID-19 screening

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   07:43 pm
Dr. Moewardi hospital in Surakarta offers free COVID-19 screening A paramedic of the Magen David Adom (Israel's national emergency service) seals a COVID-19 screening kit during a response training exercise in the central Israeli city of Kiryat Ono on Feb. 26, 2020. (AFP/Jack Guez)

Dr. Moewardi General Hospital in Surakarta, Central Java is offering free COVID-19 screening to the public at its newly installed testing booth in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, which is becoming more and more worrying in Indonesia.

Located in Jebres district, the hospital, among 13 referral hospitals handling COVID-19 patients in Central Java, has been providing the 24-hour screening service since Monday.

The test involves a body temperature check and questioning to determine whether someone has developed fever and cough symptoms, as well as if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient. If the person has developed symptoms, the hospital will offer a blood test.

The COVID-19 testing booth, which operates at the first floor of the Nusa Indah Building inside the hospital's complex, had served 235 people as of Wednesday noon, according to the hospital's spokesperson, Eko Haryati.

"Moewardi hospital has set up [the testing booth] as a measure to prevent the coronavirus from spreading any further," Haryati told The Jakarta Post by phone on Wednesday. "We hope there are no more infections."

Read also: Think you have COVID-19? Here's how to get tested in Indonesia

Moewardi hospital and 131 other hospitals nationwide are listed as referral centers to handle COVID-19 patients in Indonesia. The Surakarta Mental Health Hospital, also in Jebres district, is also providing a similar screening service in accordance with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo’s instruction.

The coronavirus, which was first discovered last December in Wuhan of Hubei province in China, has spread at a worrying pace in Indonesia since the first cases were reported in the country.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced Indonesia's first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 2. On March 14, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi was tested positive for COVID-19.

Indonesia's death toll from the the disease jumped to 19 on Wednesday, the highest in Southeast Asia to date, as the government announced that the number of infected people had reached 227.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the global tally of COVID-19 positive infections rose to 179,111 confirmed cases with 7,426 deaths as of Tuesday.

Moewardi hospital will advise anyone whose screening test result shows a potential health problem to take a lab test and a radiology exam for free. 

If the lab test and radiology exam results show indicators of COVID-19, the hospital will put that person under surveillance. Indicators include having a fever above 38 degrees Celsius, respiratory infection, light pneumonia, a history of travel to virus-hit countries or interaction with someone who is COVID-19 positive in the last 14 days. If the patient exhibits any of these indicators, they will be hospitalized and put in an isolation room for further treatment.

Read also: ‘It was too crowded’: Patients find it hard to get COVID-19 tests, treatment

Those with normal test results are allowed to go home -- they will not even be monitored by the hospital.

Moewardi hospital would keep the emergency unit in operation until the COVID-19 situation in the country passed, Haryati added. As Indonesia is expecting the confirmed cases to peak in the coming days, the hospital is preparing enough rooms to mitigate a sudden and massive influx of patients.

"The [Surakarta] mayor has declared an extraordinary situation, so Moewardi hospital has prepared for possible overcrowding,” said Haryati. (dfr)