Harbin boosts anti-epidemic measures in hospitals in wake of clustered infections

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/22 15:58:40

Qunli branch of the First Hospital of Harbin Medical University Photo: Xinhua

Only patients who take normal CT scans, nucleic acid tests and antibody tests for COVID-19 can be admitted to hospitals, the Harbin Health Commission required, after two local hospitals became the source of clustered infections and the infection chain continued to expand as of press time. 

The local health commission in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province said after patients arrive at hospital, they have to undergo a series of pre-diagnosis checks and have their body temperature taken. The pre-diagnosis and fever clinics should screen patients who want to be admitted to hospitals, including giving them CT scans, blood routine examination, nucleic acid and antibody tests. 

Only one escort is allowed to enter an inpatient ward, which will be strictly regulated 24 hours a day, the local health commission said. 

Casual conversations between COVID-19 patients' escorts near nurse stations are one of the reasons behind the clustered infections in Harbin Second Hospital, the local health authority revealed, as increasing numbers of people were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 in the infection chain. 

Before the patients were confirmed to be infected, escorts of the patients frequently gathered together at the rest area along the corridors of Harbin Second Hospital, which is also near nurse stations, according to Ke Yunnan, the deputy head of the Harbin Health Commission.

Some other areas of the hospital were contaminated after COVID-19 patients left the inpatient ward to undergo medical inspection, which led to further hospital infections among medical staff, other patients and their escorts. 

The hospital infections were caused by an 87-year-old patient surnamed Chen who was admitted to Harbin Second Hospital on April 2 after suffering a stroke. He was then transferred to the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, which also saw hospital infections because of Chen's arrival.

Harbin Second Hospital has stopped accepting patients and has been conducting thorough disinfection work in the wake of the hospital clustered infections.  

More than 2,000 people, including medical staff and inpatients in the Harbin Second Hospital, have taken COVID-19 tests. After screening, eight medical staff from the hospital were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, while 216 doctors and nurses, who were categorized as close contacts, as well as some 189 others are now under quarantine.  

Clustered infections at the two Harbin hospitals have generated a screening list of 4,106 names so far. 

The official from the Harbin Health Commission said the Harbin Second Hospital failed to give nucleic acid tests to patients at fever clinics in time. At least three officials from the hospital were punished, and the hospital head was removed from his post. 

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