COVID-19 patients in Kashi to transfer to Urumqi for better treatment

A medical worker stands by as people line up to have their samples collected for nucleic acid testing in Shufu County of Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Oct. 26, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

COVID-19 patients found in Kashi in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will be transferred to the regional capital city Urumqi for more professional medical treatment, a Xinjiang-based expert told the Global Times Thursday, revealing that a local hospital in Kashi is now ramping up efforts to deal with the new round of infections.

As of press time, Xinjiang had 45 reported confirmed cases, including three severe cases, and 138 asymptomatic cases, all of which were reported in Shufu county, Kashi Prefecture.

Clinical diagnoses showed that most of these confirmed patients showed mild symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue, symptoms similar to having a cold, Zhang Yuexin, a member of Xinjiang’s anti-epidemic group who is now offering medical treatment in Kashi, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The three patients in severe condition have a low blood oxygen index and are experiencing breathing difficulties. As middle-aged and elderly people, their pre-existing conditions have made medical treatment more difficult, but there is currently no need for them to be put on ventilators, Zhang said.

“After professional medical evaluation, those patients will be gradually transferred to a designated hospital in Urumqi where there are more medical resources,” Zhang said. 

The First People’s Hospital in Kashi where they were originally treated may not have the capability to receive large numbers of COVID-19 patients, especially severe ones. The hospital in Urumqi – the Eighth Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University – has much more medical resources.

While the source of infection for the clustered infection in Shufu county remains a mystery, a sporadic outbreak could occur anytime. To cope with this unseen scenario, the autonomous region is mobilizing resources to help the local hospital in Kashi become more professional in dealing with COVID-19 patients and a potential epidemic, Zhang noted.

The First People’s Hospital in Kashi is currently able to accommodate 200 to 300 COVID-19 patients while a second batch of inpatient wards is being constructed and will double its capacity. Its capability in treating COVID-19 patients, responding to the emerging epidemic and preventing hospital-acquired infections will also be largely boosted, he said.

Experts believed that as close contacts of COVID-19 infections in Kashi are now under quarantine, there is no cause for concern even though new confirmed cases may gradually be reported. “The clustered infection is controllable,” Zhang said.

Since the outbreak, top experts specializing in infectious diseaseshave been dispatched to Xinjiang to help treat the patients. 

The leading Chinese experts include Qiu Haibo from Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University, Guan Xiangdong from the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Jiang Li from Beijing Xuanwu Hospital and Zheng Ruiqiang from Subei People’s Hospital.

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