CONTAINING AN ISLAND: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK IN PERHENTIAN ISLANDS, TERENGGANU STATE OF MALAYSIA, IN 2021
Received 2021-12-19; Accepted 2022-09-01; Published 2023-02-21
Keywords:COVID-19, island, community transmission, Terengganu
Background: The spread of COVID-19 was inevitable and has not spared small and isolated communities, including the community of Perhentian Island in Besut District, Terengganu. Managing clusters in small islands can be difficult, given the limited resources. This study explores the characteristics of COVID-19 cases and the experience of outbreak containment at Perhentian Island.
Methodology: A retrospective study involving record review of COVID-19 cases and at-risk individuals registered under Perhentian Cluster were retrieved from the Besut District Health Office COVID-19 online registry from the 16thAugust2021 until 6thOctober 2021. All notified cases and close contacts who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were extracted and analysed using descriptive statistics.
Results: A total of 1,093 community members of Perhentian Island were screened of which 170 (15.5%) tested positive for COVID-19, while 923 (84.5%) tested negative. Among individuals who tested positive, the majority were adults (52.4%), male (51.8%), Malays (98.8%), and villagers (96.5%). Clinical characteristics were categorized into: asymptomatic (55.9%), had no known medical comorbidities (90.6%), low-risk groups (87.1%), vaccinated (57.6%), and admitted to PKRC (97.1%) for treatment. Multiple agencies were involved in the outbreak containment of the Perhentian Cluster, working collectively and in good coordination.
Conclusion: The outbreak was attributed to community gatherings and close interactions among villagers. Prompt actions, targeted planning, and inter-agency collaboration were the key factors in successful containment of further spread of COVID-19 in Perhentian Island.
Keywords: COVID-19, island, community transmission, Terengganu
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