People rest on benches in a park at Tai Hing Estate in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, March 4, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 2,004 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the Hospital Authority said it was ready to deploy up to 11,500 beds should there be a spike in admissions.
Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a press briefing that the new cases included 1,849 local infections and 155 imported cases.
Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a press briefing that the new cases included 1,849 local infections and 155 imported cases
He added that 788 infections were detected through nucleic acid testing and 1,061 by rapid antigen tests.
“For the past week, we noticed there has been a rise in caseload and at a rather high level..This may be due to the relaxation of social distancing measures in late May,” Au said.
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He said the increase was detected across all of the city’s 18 districts but most of the cases had minor symptoms or were asymptomatic.
“We see a territory-wide increase..(but hospital admissions) and mortality cases are currently still at a very stable level,” Au said.
Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that they have prepared a hospital beds mobilization plan should there be a surge in admissions.
“The Hospital Authority has not let its guard down and has prepared for a rebound,” Lau said, adding that they have set up a command center to prepare for any eventuality.
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“We can commission 2,000 beds within 48 hours. Within one week, we can provide 5,000 more beds and, altogether, 11,500 more beds in two weeks,” he added.
Lau said the AsiaWorld-Expo treatment facility has 800 beds and can be recommissioned should the need arise.
As of Wednesday, there were 671 COVID-19 patients being treated in public hospitals, including 107 new patients, Lau said.
He said 13 were in critical condition, including three in intensive care units, and 14 in serious condition.
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“The public hospitals are still able to cope and (the increase in cases) has not put a lot of pressure on our hospitals. We have a sufficient supply of isolation beds,” Lau said.
He said that, according to the Hong Kong University’s projection, the current rise in cases could peak by the middle of July, with 2,000 hospital beds needed. Lau added that the HA prepared to deploy 11,500 beds just in case Omicron subvariants cause more infections.