HK sees 59 new Covid-19 cases with cluster at United Christian Hospital ward

Local | 26 Dec 2020 6:42 pm

Hong Kong sees 59 new Covid-19 confirmed cases, of which 26 of them have their source of infection unknown.

The Centre for Health Protection said as of 12am today, it has recorded 59 additional confirmed coronavirus cases – six imported and 53 local – bringing the tally to 8,541 cases.

Among the 59 patients were 27 men and 32 women, aged between seven to  91 years old. There were also around 50 preliminary positive cases today. 

There is an outbreak in United Christian Hospital’s Palliative Care and Medical ward 2D where four staff members and 11 patients were infected.

After inspecting the site this afternoon, microbiologist and government adviser Yuen Kwok-yung said there was a super-spreader in the ward.

The super-spreader is a 84-year-old female patient who has diabetic ketoacidosis when she admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit unconsciously on December 15.

Her first Covid-19 test was negative while she was still in incubating the infection, Yuen said.

She was later being put into the palliative care ward on December 18.

A few days later, a patient in the ward was diagnosed with Covid-19. After tracing, it was found that the 84-year-old woman was infected and she had spread the virus to other patients and medical staff in the ward.

Yuen believed the virus was spread through the air.

“Because it is a palliative care ward, most of the patients are suffering from very severe condition, like terminal cancer, like major organ failure, their immune system are very poor and they were very easily infected,” he said.

He also said a nurse was infected after she had fed and washed the 84-year-old patient’s mouth, and the nurse did not wear a safety goggle.

Yuen suggested that even the patient was tested negative when admitted to the hospital, if the lung X-ray or clinical symptoms did not improve, the patient needs to take another coronavirus test. Medical staff should also wear a safety goggle when performing any care procedures that require the patient to remove the mask.

Yuen also said the epidemic pressure in Kowloon East is very high with many buildings in the area have infections, and people sometimes have admitted to the hospital for other reasons while they are still in incubation period of Covid-19.

"I think the cause of this outbreak is basically because the community epidemic pressure is now very high," Yuen said.

"And you know around this area, in the Kwun Tong area, from Yau Tong to Richland Gardens, etc., everywhere there are buildings with clusters of cases," he said.

Meanwhile, authorities have ordered residents of Lei Sang House at Lei Yue Mun Estate to undergo mandatory Covid-19 test by next Thursday as one more flat was found infected. The building so far has six confirmed cases where the patients live in four units on different floors and different orientation.

Among the six imported case, three were arrived from Britain.

Albert Au Ka-wing from the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection said the University of Hong Kong has informed them that an 18-year-old woman who arrived Hong Kong from Britain on December 11 was found coronavirus variant found in the UK.

The woman arrived Hong Kong on December 11 and was quarantined in the hotel before she was sent to the hospital on December 20. She has no close contact.

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