The first COVID-19 patient leaves from Đà Nẵng's Lung Hospital after a 18-day treatment. The patient will receive a 14-day quarantine time for completely recovery from COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Ngọc Thủy
ĐÀ NẴNG — Rapid mass tests, quickly tracing close contact cases and forming proper quarantine zones have helped Đà Nẵng City put the COVID-19 outbreak under control a month into Việt Nam’s fourth wave of infections.
More than 270,000 people, including 80,000 workers at six industrial parks and zones, were tested for SARS-COV-2 from May 3-21 to map out safe zones in the city.
Nine COVID-19 patients have been released from hospitals since the outbreak hit the city on April 27. The recovered patients will be quarantined for a further 14 days at home under medical supervision to ensure safety.
Online shopping, taxi and public bus service have resumed operation, provided that all drivers must have negative tests for SARS-COV-2.
Nine hospitals and health centres in the city are qualified to test for the coronavirus, offering an accumulated 15,000 pool tests per day.
Chairman of the city’s people’s committee Lê Trung Chinh said the city’s health service had experience with pool tests during the second COVID-19 outbreak last year.
“We accelerated testing for pools of 10 or 20 to stop the COVID-19 outbreak having a chance to create mass infections in the community in early May of 2021,” Chinh said.
A medical staff tests a sample at Thiện Nhân Health Centre in Đà Nẵng. Mass urgent tests were conducted in the city in blocking COVID-19 wide spread in community. Photo courtesy of Trần Kim Tuyến
“Medical staff and urgent COVID-19 detection teams worked all-out to trace possible direct and indirect contact people immediately, even through the night,” he said.
“The peak of the outbreak was on May 11 when 33 SARS-COV-2 positive cases were found related to one COVID-19 patient in Đà Nẵng Industrial Zone, where 9,000 workers and residents living nearby were tested in two days,” he explained.
A mass test programme was then given to more than 80,000 representatives of families, taxi drivers, bike and ride-hailing workers from May 18-21.
Chinh said COVID-19 detection teams were running off their feet taking samples in the community and all test results were reported within 24 hours.
“No new community infection case was found in 10 consecutive days between May 21-30, while 60,000 workers all tested negative for SARS-COV-2 for the second mass test on May 27-29," he said.
A medical staff receives the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine in Đà Nẵng. The city plans to provide vaccinations for front-line medical workers, armed forces, journalists, taxi drivers in the coming time. Photo courtesy Võ Văn Dũng
Tôn Thất Thạnh, director of the city’s Centre for Disease Control, said: “We offered flexible urgent tests at high-risk zones and living quarters before lock-down decisions were given. Quick tracing and fast setting up of barriers in lockdown zones helped us eliminate unnecessary cases of mass quarantine.
“More than 70,000 test results of samples were given within 24 hours during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak from May 1-23. Some tests were even finished in six hours,” said deputy director of the city’s health department, Trần Thanh Thủy.
Doctor Nguyễn Tam Lãm from the CDC said key hospitals strictly controlled the entrance among visitors and patients. Only in-patient services were allowed at central hospitals with SARS-COV-2 negative tests, he said.
He added the limits on entering key hospitals has remained since the second COVID-19 outbreak stopped in the city late last August.
Đà Nẵng also built a digital COVID-19 map – the COVIDMaps, or COVIDmaps.danang.gov.vn – an app for all people to find updated information on COVID-19 outbreak sites, as well as quarantined and locked-down zones.
Local residents can find destinations that they visited within 14 days to identify their risk of infection.
Nguyễn Văn Quốc, director of the city’s public information service, said COVIDMaps has been offered free for users since last August.
“Online health declarations are open for all users, while SARS-COV-2 test results are posted on Zalo, Google Sheets or a website,” Quốc said.
To help other localities in dealing with COVID-19, the city sent a group of 10 doctors and nurses to support Bắc Giang – one of the worst COVID-19 hit provinces – after test tools and medical facilities worth VNĐ12 billion (US$521,000) were donated to Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh provinces.
The city also donated $43,000 to support five provinces in Laos in the fight against COVID-19. — VNS