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Stroke patient contaminates hospital; guidelines released

By Tian Xuefei and Zhou Huiying | | Updated: 2020-04-22 19:11
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A staff worker takes a man's temperature at an expressway exit in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, on Feb 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The government of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, recently released new guidelines for curbing a COVID-19 outbreak, Heilongjiang Daily reported on Wednesday.

The document includes nine concrete measures to control the spread of the epidemic. It requires accurate information about travelers from overseas and key domestic areas based on an intelligence exchange mechanism with border inspectors, customs, aviation authorities and railway officials. People will be quarantined as needed.

Overseas students and teachers will not be allowed to return before official notice is released setting the date for the new semester.

Residents are required to register pass permits and scan health codes when entering communities, and masks and temperature checks are mandatory. Visitors may not enter any community.

The guidelines urge residents to avoid gatherings in public areas and workplaces. The guidelines suspended all performances, competitions, forums, exhibitions and other large-scale activities until further notice.

For those who failed to truthfully report symptoms such as fever, fatigue and dry cough, or who refused physical examinations, quarantine and treatment, local authorities will formulate punishments, it said. If such an act is discovered, the violator faces potentially severed punishment.

Hospitals should actively promote the process of online registration bookings for diagnosis and treatment, as well as guide patients to visit at different times to avoid large groups.

All patients must undergo coronavirus tests before seeking medical treatment or being hospitalized in any of the hospitals in six urban districts for any reason.

The National Health Commission reported seven new confirmed cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 on Wednesday, all of which were in Harbin.

Since April 9, the city has reported 52 confirmed local cases and 23 local asymptomatic cases. Most of the cases were tied to two hospitals in the city and included several medical workers.

An 87-year-old male being treated for a cerebral stroke at Harbin Second Hospital and First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University between April 2 and 8 had the virus and infected several patients and their family members in the same ward, the city's health commission said.

The man, surnamed Chen,was diagnosed with the coronavirus on April 10.

Harbin Second Hospital began turning away new patients on Monday.

"There were two doctors and six nurses infected at Harbin Second Hospital, and an investigation was launched immediately by the National Health Commission, the health commission and the hospital," said Ke Yunnan, deputy director of the city's health commission, on CCTV News. "A preliminary result showed three factors that led the hospital-acquired infection."

"During the treatment in the hospital, Chen's companion often chatted with others in the corridor which is close to the nurse's station," Ke said. "Chen needed to be examined with large auxiliary equipment, so he had to leave his ward, which contaminated other places."

Ke added that the public service facilities of the hospital, such as the room for boiling water room and the elevator might also have led to infections within the hospital.

"Furthermore, the unsatisfactory performance reflected obvious weaknesses and problems in the hospital's epidemic prevention and control work," he said. "If patients with fever could have conducted coronavirus tests, Chen's case might be detected earlier."

Ke added: "A total of 405 medical workers and related close contacts have been placed in quarantine, and we have finished coronavirus testing for 2,000 people, including medical workers and patients who were hospitalized in Harbin Second Hospital in the past two weeks."

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