A man looks on as another (right) swims in the choppy waters of Victora Harbour in Hong Kong on Aug 24, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 8,848 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as the Hospital Authority noted that 80 percent of the city's admitted COVID patients were elderly people.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at a news briefing that the new cases included 8,611 local infections and 237 imported cases.
Of the 2,585 admitted COVID patients, around 2,100 or 80 percent are aged above 60. The oldest is over 100 years old while the median age is 77, said Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority
She said infections linked to the Omicron BA.4 or BA.5 subvariants rose further to 56.6 percent of new cases as of Aug 27. Thirteen new deaths brought the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,468.
“BA.5 has become the prevalent strain. We understand BA.5 is more transmissible. This may cause further increase in the number of cases,” Chuang said.
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She said 83 of the imported cases were detected at the airport and 43 at quarantine hotels. Twenty-five came from India, 24 from the United Kingdom, 23 from Thailand, 19 each from Singapore and the Philippines, 18 from the United States, 13 from Indonesia, and 11 from Canada.
Chuang said six residential care homes for the elderly and two for persons with disabilities had new cases.
She added that 140 schools reported 319 new infections involving 238 students 81 teaching staff members. Seven schools had to suspend some in-person classes for one week due to infections.
Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that the 13 new deaths involved eight men and five women aged 54 to 97 years old. Ten of them were not fully vaccinated, including five who did not get a single jab.
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Lau said there were 2,585 patients admitted in public hospitals as of Tuesday, including 343 new patients. Forty-seven were critical, including 13 receiving intensive care, while 45 were in serious condition.
Of the admitted COVID patients, around 2,100 or 80 percent are aged above 60. The oldest is over 100 years old while the median age is 77, Lau said.
“So, most in-patients are elderly with chronic illnesses,” he added.
Lau said that more than 240 of them require oxygen treatment and 23 needed the assistance of ventilators.
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A new cluster was also detected at the Princess Margaret Hospital after a 76-year-old male patient tested positive on Aug 27 in its internal medicine ward, Lau said.
Contact tracing showed that six more male patients, aged 46 to 83, and three staff members were also infected. They are in stable condition while the ward has stopped receiving new patients, Lau added.