Hospital patient tests positive

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   A residential care home for people with disabilities staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 after repeated negative test results before and during his stay at United Christian Hospital. About 50 residents and 20 staff at the care home have to be quarantined.   Centre for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan told a press briefing that the 26-year-old patient works at the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong Jockey Club Building - Hostel For Moderately Mentally Handicapped Persons.   He felt unwell on February 22 and had his deep throat saliva specimen taken for viral testing the next day and on March 1, but both results were negative.   Dr Chuang said: “For the residential care homes for people with disabilities (RCHDs), from past experience, it is very possible that COVID-19 outbreaks may occur in these places because of the difficulty to maintain hygiene, infection control measures and mask-wearing requirement in these institutions, because people reside there, they live there - it is essentially a home, but it is a larger home. So domestic outbreaks occur very often and also in the past at care homes for the disabled.   “For this patient, we are not sure when he was infectious, because although he had onset of symptoms quite early on, his repeated test results were negative. So if the virus did spread, probably, the spread had already occurred.”   The Hospital Authority added that the patient was admitted to a medical ward at United Christian Hospital on March 3 due to pneumonia and a persistent fever. COVID-19 tests were arranged for him separately on March 3, 5 and 7 with negative results.   The patient did not present with a cough or sputum. As his pneumonia did not improve, clinical staff arranged a bronchoscopy for him on March 8 to investigate the cause. His bronchoalveolar lavage specimen tested positive for COVID-19.   The patient is currently receiving further treatment in an isolation ward and is in a stable condition.   Eleven patients who stayed in the cubicle or bed nearby are classified as close contacts and will be quarantined. The hospital arranged viral tests for those who are still staying in the hospital and all of them tested negative. Environmental samples taken from the ward also came back negative.   All staff members working in the ward concerned were equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment in accordance with infection control guidelines. None of them are classified as close contacts so far.   The hospital has arranged thorough cleaning and disinfection of the areas in the accident & emergency department and the ward concerned, the authority added.

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