|A healthcare worker takes samples for rapid testing at an outbreak cluster in Hóc Môn District. Photo courtesy of HCDC
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have ordered Hóc Môn District to enhance pandemic prevention measures, especially to minimise the number of severe cases and COVID-related deaths following a surge in the number of cases in recent weeks.
Speaking during an inspection in Hóc Môn on Sunday, Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city Party Committee, warned of the high risk of infection due to people neglecting preventive measures, especially since early October when the city lifted most of its restrictions.
“It’s paramount to stop the source of infection and focus on treatment in order to minimise the number of severe cases and deaths.”
Outbreak clusters are occurring in families and neighbourhoods in Hóc Môn. The city will help with personnel if the district forces fail to cope with such clusters of outbreaks, according to Nên.
While waiting for assistance from the city, the district must make good use of the available forces to tackle the outbreaks, according to Nên. “Mild or symptomless cases should be provided specific instructions and medicine for home isolation and treatment.”
Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, said that Hóc Môn District has a large population of more than 422,000, making it more challenging to contain an outbreak.
He urged the district to speed up testing to detect cases early for timely isolation and treatment and use medicine packages for home treatment.
Dương Hồng Thắng, chairman of Hóc Môn People’s Committee, said the district would set up temporary quarantine facilities in communes and towns, including kindergartens.
Hóc Môn will soon put into use a 300-bed field hospital for COVID treatment and plans to set up a COVID response team for screening at high-risk areas, he said.
According to the Hóc Môn Health Centre, from October 23 to November 5, the district recorded 6,712 positive cases through rapid tests at 2,592 households, mostly in Xuân Thới Thượng, Đông Thạnh, Bà Điểm, Xuân Thới Sơn, Tân Thới Nhì, Nhị Bình and Trung Chánh communes.
Of the cases, 5,773 cases (or 86 per cent) have mild symptoms and 21 severe cases require hospitalisation and four deaths.
As many as 335 cases or 5 per cent were detected through self-testing and 604 cases or 9 per cent detected at companies, private clinics and hospitals
Health stations in the district’s wards have instructed 6,066 cases (or 90 per cent)to be isolated at home. The stations provided 5,106 medicine bags for patients aged 18 and over.
According to the Health Centre, a number of people are showing concern over the safety of Molnupiravir for treatment due to a lack of information about its safety and effectiveness.
Commune and township health stations must disseminate information to encourage people to use Molnupiravir to limit the number of deaths.
During the fourth wave, Hóc Môn had 31 mobile medical stations in 12 communes and towns, with mainly military medical staff. After the military medical force left, the Department of Health set up 15 mobile medical stations in the district with staff from the Children 2 Hospital and Hóc Môn General Hospital.
HCM City has seen the number of cases and hospitalisations increasing slightly over the past two weeks, with most hospitalised patients having mild symptoms, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Health.
Eighty-six per cent of hospitalised patients have had either one or two vaccine doses, and the remaining 14 per cent of patients are unvaccinated. Ninety per cent of unvaccinated patients are under 18 years old.
Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu, deputy director of department, attributed the rising number to the return of unvaccinated migrant workers to the city and the lifting of restrictions.
“Although fully vaccinated people have a much lower risk of death or serious illness after infection, it is still essential to comply with social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitisation to prevent infection.”
HCM City has recorded nearly 439,000 cases since the end of April when the fourth wave began. — VNS