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HK records daily-high of 67 Covid-19 cases

16 July 2020

By The SUN

Health officials announced the record tally at today's press briefing

A record number of 67 Covid-19 cases were reported in Hong Kong today, Jul 16. Of these, 63 are local transmissions, with 35 of unknown origin.  A further 10 people tested preliminary positive.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection confirmed at today’s press conference that this is the highest number of infections reported since the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong began in January.

She also dismissed a suggestion that the infection has already peaked. “I cannot say that this is the peak because you can only know that afterwards, so there’s still a chance that more cases are coming,” said Chuang.
Of the four imported cases reported today, three were domestic helpers: two flew from Manila, and another from Indonesia.

The first Filipina is 38 years old and asymptomatic, and arrived on Jul 14 as a first-time domestic worker in Hong Kong. The second is 37 years old and was returning from a four-month stay in the Philippines. She had diarrhea.

The fourth imported case is a returning resident from India.

The total number of cases rose to 1,655, but with only 319 patients remaining in 13 hospitals. The death toll rose to 10 yesterday, after two elderly residents passed away in hospital within hours of each other.

But what worries health officials the most is the growing number of local cases whose source is unknown, and appear to occur in nearly all parts of the city.

“What is more worrying is that we have many untraceable cases, where the source cannot be identified,” said Dr Lau Ka-hin, chief manager of the Hospital Authority.

Among these are outbreaks in various hospitals, in particular Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yaumatei, where two staff members were among the confirmed cases today.

One of them lives in Tsz Wan Shan, site of the biggest cluster of local cases; while the other one works as a dispatcher of non-emergency vehicles.
Two staff members of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yaumatei are among the new confirmed cases today
Three other cases were linked to the hospital earlier, which started with an elderly patient who was put in a general ward and was found positive after she was moved to the Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital for rehabilitation.

In a reverse situation, a patient who was admitted to the general ward of the Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital on Jul 13 for bone surgery developed fever and respiratory tract infection, and the operation was cancelled. He subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 and he was transferred to Queen Elizabeth.

Also among today’s patients is a 71-year-old man who was admitted to a ward at Tseung Kwan-o Hospital with low grade fever, but was immediately transferred to an isolation room after being found infected.

All the eight other patients in the ward were tested for the virus, but were found negative.
At Princess Margaret Hospital, another male patient who had fever was admitted to a double ward on Jul 15. After testing positive for the virus, the other patient in the ward was also tested, but was found negative.

There was also a 31-year-old nurse at the Adventist Hospital in Wanchai who tested positive, although her case was linked to a previous infection.

In Tuen Mun hospital, a doctor was tested after one of his relatives was found infected, and he was identified as a close contact. Although the result was negative, he was still put under quarantine for observation.

Asked if hospitals needed to tighten their admission policy so probable Covid-19 cases would not be put in general wards, Lau said this was not possible because of the huge number of people seeking treatment.

“Otherwise, we will run out of isolation rooms,” he said.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yin clarified that staff canteens are exempted from the ban for dine-in at restaurants from 6pm to 5am, but diners must follow the social distancing measures which took effect yesterday.

Staff at restaurants may also eat inside after 6pm, but only within a designated area separate from where patrons are seated.

He further clarified that people could wait for takeaway inside the restaurant after the designated time, as long as they wear masks and do no eat.

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