People stand in a queue for the COVID-19 coronavirus testing in Hong Kong on Feb 12, 2022, as authorities scrambled to ramp up testing capacity following a record high of new infections. (LOUISE DELMOTTE / AFP)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong reported 1,347 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday while a health official urged patients with mild symptoms to isolate at home as hospital isolation beds are already full.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a press briefing that there were 1,345 local cases while more than 2,000 tested preliminarily positive. The city's tally stood at 22,980.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a press briefing that there were 1,345 local cases while more than 2,000 tested preliminarily positive
“Like I mentioned before, there are more cases in Sham Shui Po, Sha Tin, and Tuen Mun. In January, it was Kwai Tsing, Wong Tai Sin and the Islands,” Chuang said.
She added that 4,317 persons are currently isolating at home, involving more than 1,900 households.
Larry Lee Lap-yip, Chief Manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said the HA has amended its triage criteria since isolation beds in hospitals were already full.
“Currently, the number of confirmed and preliminary positive cases in the hospitals have exceeded our capacity,” Lee said in the same briefing.
"Our current isolation facilities are now fully in use and the reason (is) a lot of cases of children and the elderly that need to be admitted as soon as possible," he added.
Lee said isolation beds will now be reserved for those with serious cases, the elderly, and children. Chuang said 4 percent of patients are children under 4 years old.
“As for the younger and more stable and with mild symptoms, please wait patiently at home. We should reserve the medical resources for those most in need,” Lee said.
He said the HA will have a hotline to address their concerns while the government prepares mroe isolation facilities.
“If the conditions further deteriorate, we won’t rule out suspending some of the regular services at hospitals in order to turn some hospitals into hospitals specialized in receiving COVID-19 cases,” Lee said.
“We hope the public can understand and support our decision, especially those with preliminary positive cases who have yet to be admitted,” he said.
“I understand you are feeling anxious. However, in the face of crisis, wee must put the medical resources for those under serious cases, the elderly, and the children,” he added.
Lee said there were three male patients in critical condition aged 84, 80 and 75. He added that a three-year-old girl who tested preliminary positive was also in critical condition.
Lee also said that 40 hospital staff members tested preliminarily positive for the coronavirus.
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