COVID-19 patients in Kashi will move to Urumqi hospital for better treatment

By Liu Caiyu Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/29 15:50:21

A medical worker stands by as people line up to have their samples collected for nucleic acid testing in Shufu County of Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Oct. 26, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

COVID-19 patients identified in Kashi, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will be transferred to the regional capital city Urumqi for more professional treatment, a Xinjiang-based expert told the Global Times on Thursday.

A second round of nucleic acid tests on residents from Kashi's Shufu county had found 14 positive cases, with 13 from Zhanmin county and another one from a nearby county. They have been quaratined, and were linked to a clothing factory, according to officials in Xinjiang on Thursday. Xinjiang had reported 45 confirmed cases in the latest outbreak, including three severe cases, and 138 asymptomatic infections, all of which were detected in Shufu county, Kashi Prefecture.

"Most of the confirmed patients showed mild symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue, similar to having a cold," Zhang Yuexin, a member of Xinjiang's anti-epidemic group who is now providing medical treatment in Kashi, told the Global Times. 

The three patients in severe condition suffer a low blood oxygen index and are experiencing breathing difficulties. As middle-aged and elderly people, their pre-existing conditions make medical treatment more difficult, but there is no need for them to be put on ventilators, Zhang said.

"After professional medical evaluation, those patients will be gradually transferred to a designated hospital in Urumqi where there are more medical resources," Zhang said. 

The First People's Hospital in Kashi, where the patients were originally treated, may not have the capability to treat large numbers of COVID-19 patients, especially severe ones. The hospital in Urumqi - the Eighth Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University - has far more medical resources.

While the sources of the recent clustered infections in Shufu county remain a mystery, a sporadic outbreak could occur anytime. To cope with such a scenario, the autonomous region is mobilizing resources to help local hospitals in Kashi improve their treatment of COVID-19 patients and contain any potential epidemic, Zhang noted.

The First People's Hospital in Kashi is able to accommodate 200 to 300 COVID-19 patients while a second group of inpatient wards is being constructed and will double its capacity. Its capability in treating COVID-19 patients, responding to the emerging epidemic and preventing hospital-acquired infections, will also get a big boost, he said.

Experts said that as the close contacts of COVID-19 patients in Kashi are now under quarantine, there is no cause for concern, even though new confirmed cases may gradually be reported. 

"The clustered infection is controllable," Zhang said.

Since the outbreak, a number of top experts specializing in infectious diseases have been dispatched to Xinjiang to help treat the patients. 

These experts include Qiu Haibo from Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University in Jiangsu Province, Guan Xiangdong from the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, Jiang Li from Beijing Xuanwu Hospital and Zheng Ruiqiang from Subei People's Hospital in Jiangsu Province.

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