Coronavirus: 400 beds likely to be ready at HK’s AsiaWorld-Expo by this week, Hospital Authority says

13-Aug-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Four hundred more beds for Covid-19 patients will be ready for use at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo later this week at the earliest, the Hospital Authority has revealed, as it lays out long-term plans to boost the city’s isolation beds by 2,400 to meet rising demand.

Dr Deacons Yeung Tai-kong, the authority’s director for cluster services, told a press briefing on Tuesday the central government had donated furniture for the new treatment facility, and revealed that the blueprint of another much-anticipated makeshift hospital next to the exhibition centre would involve a two-storey building providing up to 1,000 beds.

The latest plans… will also allow us to optimise care for the right patients in the right place at the right time

Deacons Yeung, director for cluster services, Hospital Authority

“The latest plans are flexible and can be scaled up or down according to needs. It will also allow us to optimise care for the right patients in the right place at the right time,” he said.

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On Tuesday, the third wave of Covid-19 in Hong Kong pushed the city’s infection tally to 4,181, with 58 deaths.

The city’s public hospitals have a total of 1,200 first-tier and 500 second-tier isolation beds. Last month, the authority opened a community isolation facility in Lei Yu Mun Park and Holiday Village, offering 350 beds for stable patients with mild symptoms. Earlier this month, it launched the city’s first community treatment facility in the exhibition hall 1 of AsiaWorld-Expo near the airport which offered 500 beds for young and healthy patients aged between 18 and 60.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced last Friday that the government would expand the facilities into hall 2 and provide 400 beds there, and would add another 1,000 beds in other exhibition halls at the site. The government will also build a makeshift hospital next to the site that will provide between 800 and 1,000 isolation beds. The plans are expected to raise the city’s isolation bed capacity to 4,950.

Yeung said preparations for 400 beds in hall 2 were “nearing completion” and the facilities would be ready for use by the end of this week at the earliest, but he said they would not immediately take in patients, as only about 180 beds in the 500-bed hall 1 had been occupied.

He said the additions were needed as the city faced a “rapid and fierce” third wave. He cited the authority’s data which showed the proportion of coronavirus patients aged above 60 years had increased from 14 to 30 per cent from the first six months this year to July. The figure was even more striking among local cases, where the proportion of elderly patients had increased from 30 to 40 per cent over the same period.

Yeung added that the same rising trend could be seen in patients with chronic illnesses, with their proportion among overall coronavirus patients increasing from 14 to 33 per cent, and among local coronavirus patients from 20 to 43 per cent over the period.

The veteran doctor said the upcoming citywide universal testing drive was likely to detect 1,500 more Covid-19 patients according to government estimates, while in the long-term, the winter flu season would also heap more pressure on the public health care system, especially on beds in the accident and emergency departments and general wards.

He also said that the facility in exhibition hall 2 would contain furniture such as cabinets as well as drip stands donated by the central government, while other medical equipment would be supplied locally.

The makeshift two-storey hospital, next to the site, will have basic facilities such as pharmacies and procedure rooms with X-ray equipment.


Category: Hong Kong

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