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Saturday, July 2, 2022

HCMC plans hospitals for Omicron cases only

By Minh Thao

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HCMC – If Omicron cases are detected, HCMC will send them to separate treatment facilities, starting with Field Hospital No.12 in Thu Duc City, to prevent the spread of the heavily mutated coronavirus variant.

At a press briefing on the pandemic in HCMC on December 6, Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, office head of the municipal Department of Health, said the department had sent a coping plan to the municipal anti-Covid steering committee.

Those having Omicron will be placed in centralized isolation centers. Medical workers will be added if cases surge.

Nguyen Hong Tam, deputy director of the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC), said the city had not detected an Omicron case. However, as Omicron is highly catagious and the risk of reinfection from the newly found variant is higher than the Delta variant, HCDC has taken some precautionary steps to prevent Omicron from spreading to the city.

Specifically, the city will put the fully vaccinated who arrive from abroad via the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in a centralized quarantine facility for seven days and a home quarantine for another week if they test negative for Covid-19.

As for those entering the city via the Saigon Port, they will be isolated onboard their vessels. If they disembark, they will be subject to the same quarantine regulations as those flying to HCMC.

If those arriving from abroad test positive for Covid, HCDC will coordinate with the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases to determine if they are infected with Omicron.

In addition, the municipal healthcare sector has cooperated with the police to review and prevent those illegally entering the city from Cambodia.

Tam said local residents should seriously comply with anti-pandemic measures and support the competent agencies to detect and handle those illegally entering the city to prevent the transmission of the new variant which was first identified in South Africa.

In response to the spike in new Covid-19 cases and deaths, Mai said the Department of Health had plans to restructure hospitals. Accordingly, the wards screening and temporarily quarantining Covid cases in hospitals will be converted into Covid treatment wards.

Hospitals with pediatric or obstetrical wards will establish intensive care units for critical Covid cases.

Hospitals which had been completely converted into Covid treatment facilities– the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Trung Vuong, An Binh and Cu Chi hospitals—and those which had been divided into two zones, with one for Covid treatment, will maintain their operations.

The city has closed eight field hospitals, while 13 others remain open.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the field hospitals will be rearranged as three-level hospitals to treat Covid patients at different levels.

Moreover, the municipal Department of Health has instructed hospitals to prepare to send their medical workers to support the Covid treatment effort.

Currently, the city has 310 fixed and 382 pop-up healthcare stations.

Regarding the rising number of Covid-19 deaths, Mai said most of the deaths were among those aged over 65, having underlying health conditions or having been partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Therefore, the department proposed the municipal anti-Covid steering committee formulate a plan to protect these residents.

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