Hospitalisation delay being addressed

March 31, 2020

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said it is unsatisfactory that some patients are not sent straight to hospital as soon as they are diagnosed with COVID-19 and she hoped the second-tier isolation ward beds being made available would help alleviate the situation.


Speaking to reporters ahead of an Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam noted the delay in sending COVID-19 patients straight to hospital stemmed from a large number of overseas arrivals being placed on home quarantine.


“It is not satisfactory for confirmed cases not to be admitted into hospitals yet. But this phenomenon appears because we have a large number of arrivals from overseas who have been put on home quarantine, which means that upon arrival, they have no symptoms. So they have been put on home quarantine.


“In order to play safe, we require each of them to go through a saliva test. So as and when the saliva test is confirmed positive, then this patient becomes a confirmed case, but he or she is still staying at home.


“So there needs to be a process to arrange for this confirmed positive patient to be admitted into hospital.”


Mrs Lam added that she has requested the Secretary for Food & Health to look into speeding up the process of sending patients straight to hospital once they tested positive for the virus.


“The problem now lies in that capacity constraint in the hospitals to admit patients in a speedier manner. I have asked the Secretary for Food & Health to work very closely with the Hospital Authority to speed up the process as much as possible.

“I suspect the addition of the 400 second-tier isolation beds very soon in the Hospital Authority will help to provide more capacity to handle the situation.”

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