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Amid outbreak, city hospitals set up green lanes for emergency operations

By ZHOU WENTING and XING YI in Shanghai | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-03-28 09:06
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Citizens take COVID-19 nucleic acid test in East China's Shanghai, March 26, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Shanghai Municipal Health Commission reiterated that emergency departments, fever clinics, intensive care units and hemodialysis, surgery, labor and delivery rooms at hospitals should remain operational as the city deals with its latest COVID-19 outbreak.

All hospitals are required to set up green lanes and quarantine wards for patients with critical illnesses, making sure that each one receives timely treatment, the commission's director, Wu Jinglei, said on Saturday.

By Sunday morning, all of the city's 178 tertiary and secondary hospitals-except for some reserved to back up the reception of COVID-19 cases and infections-had resumed emergency services while assuming tasks related to epidemic control, including conducting nucleic acid tests, amid the outbreak that began earlier this month.

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University said on Saturday that two cesarean section surgeries for twins were performed there, and the four babies were delivered safely.

Although the hospital had suspended medical services in order to cooperate with an investigation of a possible COVID-19 case in the building, the two mothers-to-be had critical health conditions and needed surgery urgently, so they were not turned away.

The hospital immediately opened a green lane for them and conducted the emergency C-section procedures in negative pressure operating rooms. Medical workers also contacted a blood bank to ensure they had access to an adequate supply and made other preparations.

"While pandemic controls leave no room for slacking off, the public is also concerned about the safety of mothers and babies. We must strike a balance to answer needs," the hospital said in a news release.

Separately, a Ruijin Hospital staff member received a phone call from the family of a woman dealing with an ectopic pregnancy after midnight Friday. She needed to undergo emergency surgery, so she was admitted even though hadn't shown a negative result on her nucleic acid test.

The city is fighting its most challenging COVID-19 outbreak yet, and many hospitals are requiring patients to provide negative nucleic acid results upon entry.

In just 15 minutes, the patient was transported to a quarantine surgery room, where night shift doctors and nurses changed into white hazmat suits. After half an hour, the operation ended in success. She was given a nucleic acid test, which showed a negative result.

Ruijin Hospital has established protocols for dealing with emergency cases during the COVID-19 outbreak, and its departments have trained to offer timely treatment to patients during this special period.

Zhang Aifen, director of the management office of the 12345 Citizen Service Hotline, said that calls from residents in locked down communities for assistance in receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, hemodialysis, rabies vaccine injections, pregnancy checkups and baby deliveries are categorized as emergencies.

"We'll arrange for an employee to follow up with each case until each problem is resolved," she said.

By Saturday, the hotline, which offers service in Mandarin and 10 foreign languages, as well as sign language via video chat, had received 300,000 requests from the public concerning epidemic control.

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