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Residents around Bạch Mai Hospital's COVID-19 cluster to be given quick tests

Update: March, 30/2020 - 19:08

 

Medical workers help patients’ relatives leave Bạch Mai Hospital to quarantine at home on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has established three task forces to implement rapid COVID-19 tests in the area around Bạch Mai Hospital, fast emerging as a complicated hot spot of the country following the discovery of new cases related to the hospital.

The move was launched Monday afternoon following the request of Nguyễn Đức Chung, head of Hà Nội People’s Committee.

“Blood test results can be obtained after ten minutes. This is the type used in South Korea,” said Chung, referring to the quick test that the East Asian country has used in its mass testing strategy.

He also ordered the municipal health department to form seven other task forces consisting of the Capital City High Command, Hà Nội Police and medical staff to provide quick tests at some crowded areas in the city.

Chung said the city hired ten 24/7 mobile testing stations at VNĐ6 to 7 million (US$256-298) each per month.

Most COVID-19 patients related to Bạch Mai Hospital are workers of Trường Sinh Company, which provides food and logistics services for the hospital, however, health ministry's leaders said at Monday's meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, tentatively ruling out the possibility that the disease was introduced into the hospital by its healthcare staff.

All present, all patients at Bạch Mai Hospital are undergoing treatment as usual. However, in case of a long lockdown, patients in severe medical conditions transferred from lower-level hospitals will not be able to be admitted to the hospital. Up to 80 per cent of them may die.

Health ministry and health experts said that Bạch Mai Hospital could not just stop receiving emergency cases. Therefore, it is essential to ensure safety and stop the disease from spreading in the hospital.

Deputy health minister Nguyễn Trường Sơn said less critical patients could be sent to other tertiary referral hospitals in the capital city such as Việt Nam-Germany Friendship Hospital, Thanh Nhàn, Saint Paul or other military hospitals.

There will be specialised procedures to admit critical cases to Bạch Mai Hospital in which patients will be considered as suspected of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 and medical workers will have to wear hazmat suits and strictly follow rules of infection control during examination and treatment.

“All doctors and medical staff tested negative the first time and are prepared for the second test. The hospital is not a source of infection," Sơn stressed, adding that "We request all doctors and medical staff to gather at Bạch Mai Hospital in 14 days to take care of patients. The hospital needs to prepare lodging for them to rest and ensure isolation requirements."

As of Monday afternoon, there were 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases related to Bạch Mai Hospital.

The developments of the outbreak are complicated, Hà Nội's leader Chung said, adding that confirmed patients are from five different localities including Hà Nội, Hà Nam, Ninh Bình, Thái Nguyên and Nam Định.

There are cases that contracted the virus from the hospital’s patients.

Chung has asked all patients discharged from Bạch Mai Hospital from March 10 to 18, their relatives, students and interns to home quarantine and contact local medical facilities for tests.

The capital city’s residents are encouraged to stay at home and work online for the next ten days to limit the risk of disease transmission from the Bạch Mai Hospital area. — VNS

 

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