Hong Kong recorded 4,285 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, as health authorities continue to struggle with confirming a backlog of preliminary tests. Nine Covid-19 patients succumbed to the virus in the past 24 hours, including a three-year-old girl.
The death of the girl and a 100-year-old woman were announced on Tuesday night. The Hospital Authority’s Sara Ho reported an additional seven Covid-19 fatalities during Wednesday’s regular Covid-19 briefing.
According to Ho, six of those who died were aged 72 or above, while one was a 37-year-old man who suffered from chronic illness and was in need of long-term care.
“The hospitals are saddened by their deaths and will provide help to their families,” Ho said.
Ho said that most of the nine who died were unvaccinated, although records were not yet available for all, and urged citizens to get the Covid-19 jabs.
Another 17 patients aged between 45 and 91 were in critical condition, Ho said.
Local media reported that there were some 12,000 patients who had tested positive or preliminary positive and were waiting to be admitted in hospitals or quarantine facilities. Ho did not confirm the figure during the briefing, but said the total “exceeded the thousands.”
Currently, more than 90 per cent of the city’s isolation facilities are in use. “That means it has already reached the limit, because we don’t expect 100 per cent utilisation,” Ho said.
The Hospital Authority opened seven clinics dedicated to treating those with minor Covid-19 symptoms on Wednesday. About 700 people made reservations for these clinics on their first day of operations, Ho said.
In the same briefing, Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said that there were at least 7,000 preliminary positive cases. More were expected to arrive at the CHP’s testing laboratory.
Chuang said over 1,000 specimens from Tuesday’s 5,400 preliminary positive samples were still waiting to be confirmed.
Out of the 4,000-odd cases recorded on Wednesday, Chuang said around 3,200 were verified at the CHP laboratory, while another 1,055 were confirmed at Hospital Authority testing facilitities.
At Tuesday’s press meeting, Chuang said the Hospital Authority was no longer required to submit specimens to the CHP for confirmation.
Chuang said only those specimens confirmed by the CHP had undergone variant tests. Among Wednesday’s tally was 48 suspected Delta infections and 3,138 Omicron cases.
“The upward trend [of Covid-19 cases] has not gone down yet,” Chuang said. “All of us are still very concerned, as transmissions are occurring in the community.”
As of Wednesday, the city has reported a total of 30,955 Covid-19 cases and 224 deaths.
Things to look out for on children patients
After the coronavirus-related deaths of two young patients, parents in Hong Kong have become concerned about their children’s well-being in face of the city’s fifth-wave outbreak.
When asked about what to look out for in younger patients, Ho said parents should pay extra attention to their child’s psychological status if they test positive or preliminary positive, and closely monitor their body temperature.
Ho said if the child has a high fever but is still willing to play and chat with their parents, “those we would be relatively less worried about.”
According to Ho, the body temperature of an infected child with a fever would go up and down, but overall it should be decreasing.
However, Ho said special attention should be paid if the young patient suffered from continuous high temperatures even after taking medicine and having their body wiped.
For children with a mild fever, Ho recommended that parents take their temperature once every four hours, and keep a record of the child’s eating and toilet patterns.
On Tuesday, the China-manufactured Sinovac jab became available for those aged three or above in Hong Kong. Vaccinations with the German-made BioNTech vaccine began on Wednesday for children aged five to 11.