Public hospitals mobilise resources

January 24, 2020

The Hospital Authority is mobilising the resources of its hospital clusters to cope with the upsurge in patients who meet the revised reporting criteria of novel coronavirus infection.


Hospital Authority Director (Quality & Safety) Dr Chung Kin-lai made the remarks during a media briefing today on Hong Kong's latest novel coronavirus infection situation.


“From noon yesterday until 8am today, we already received 66 reported cases, which is quite an increasing number compared with the previous days,” Dr Chung noted.


This brings the total number of patients to 236, of which 119 remain hospitalised.


“We are now under very high pressure and in a very tight situation in terms of bed provision and manpower provision,” he said, adding that the increase in reported cases has placed a lot of pressure on isolation wards.


The Centre for Health Protection revised the reporting criteria of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent to enhance the surveillance of suspected cases.


Dr Chung said the authority's seven hospital clusters are exploring their resources to deal with the corresponding jump in hospital intake, and that the cluster representatives said during a meeting this morning that isolation ward occupancy is reaching capacity.


“They are now mobilising some of the other facilities that we have reserved to turn them into negative pressure rooms and mobilise patients and resources so that we can now increase our number of isolation beds that can be operated from 500 to 570 and isolation rooms from 290 up to 309.


“But even with that amount of isolation rooms, the occupancy is still more than 70%. So it is a very high occupancy and they are trying to mobilise more over these coming few days.”


Dr Chung also spoke on the short-term accommodation needs of hospital staff who are worried about returning home after treating novel coronavirus infection patients.


“Our staff are also concerned that if in case they have to take care of more confirmed cases, some of them feel worried if they need to go home after work.”


He said the authority's clusters have set aside more than 260 beds for staff to use overnight after finishing their shifts, adding that more accommodation is being sought for this purpose.


“We are trying to mobilise more and we are trying to actually see whether in society, like in hotels, we can hire more rooms for our staff for accommodation.


“We have good news that a few hotels already said they would try their best to help.”


The Centre for Health Protection will update the reported cases of novel coronavirus infection on its dedicated webpage at 9am and 6pm every day.

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