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17,269 Covid-19 cases reported, 50 deaths including 9-year-old boy

24 February 2022

 By Daisy CL Mandap


The 9-year-old boy tested positive after being taken to United Christian Hospital unconscious

A staggering 17,269 Covid-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours, according to Hong Kong health officials.

However, only 8,798 cases could be confirmed in time for Thursday’s press conference, which is still the highest on record.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, only three of the cases were imported while the rest were all locally acquired.

Nineteen carried the Delta variant while the rest are likely Omicron cases or the test result has yet to come out or could not be determined.

A record tally of 50 deaths was also reported, comprising 35 men and 15 women who were all either elderly or suffered from serious ailments. Only six of them had two doses of a vaccine, while two each had one dose.

He also said there were 17 additional deaths that happened on Feb 21 and 22 and were not reported on time. They comprised 15 males and two females aged 68 to 93.

Apart from these patients, a nine-year-old boy who passed away at United Christian Hospital  this morning will be listed tomorrow as among the Covid-19 fatalities after he tested positive prior to admission.

Dr Lau Ka-hin of the Hospital Authority said the boy had suffered from a genetic muscular disease since age 3 but was otherwise healthy. He collapsed at home Wednesday night and was rushed to hospital unconscious. Efforts to revive him failed.

“The parents told us the patient had some tiredness and a decrease in appetite. But there was no other respiratory tract infection symptoms, no fever, no convulsion,” he said.

In line with hospital policy he was tested for Covid-19 and was found positive. He did not have any vaccine dose.

Dr Lau said that since the boy passed away shortly after admission to hospital the case has been passed on to the coroner to ascertain the cause of death.

He was the fourth child with Covid-19 to pass away in the past few days. The others were a four-year-old boy, a three-year-old girl and an 11-month-old baby girl.

Separately Dr Lau confirmed reports that a four-year-old boy who developed a fever last night and tested positive on a rapid test was taken comatose to Yan Chai hospital at 1am.

“But upon admission he was stable,” he said. The boy had no vaccination.

More than 1,400 patients with mild or no symptoms are in isolation at Penny's Bay
Meanwhile, a total of 4,462 patients are being treated in public hospitals while a further 1,650 are in isolation either at Penny’s Bay or Dorsett Tsuen Wan Hotel.

From tomorrow, he said the 300-bed Tin Shui Wai Hospital will be converted into a Covid hospital. Its accident and emergency department will only accept Covid patients.

Its existing patients who are not infected with Covid-19 will be gradually moved to Tuen Mun Hospital.

He also said that following the HA’s appeal, Baptist Hospital in Kowloon Tong has agreed to set aside 12 beds for Non-Covid patients who are staying in public hospitals in the West Kowloon cluster.

Earlier, St Paul’s Hospital in Causeway Bay agreed to take in 20 non-Covid patients from public hospitals in the Hong Kong East cluster.

Dr Lau said he hoped more private hospitals would follow suit, and help the HA cope with the mounting number of Covid-19 patients that need medical care.

He also aired an appeal for patients not to flock to Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital as both are reporting long waits in their respective emergency rooms.

He said those who test positive on a rapid antigen test should undergo a PCR test to confirm a result. If they test positive again, they should go to any of the nine designated clinics for medical consultation.

Only those who are very ill should be taken to hospital. Those who are experiencing mild or no symptoms are referred to an isolation facility or told to go back home and isolate for 14 days.

 “Do not call an ambulance to take them to the hospital” he said, adding that 30% of calls made to the Fire Department are from asymptomatic people.

Dr Lau said 1,688 hospital staff have come down with Covid. If they test negative on the 7th day using the rapid antigen test, they are obliged to call the department in charge so they can go back the work.

He deflected questions on whether this would put patients at risk, saying 98% of all health care workers are vaccinated. They must also test negative before each shift to make sure they won’t be spreading the virus to patients and other people.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi opened the press conference by saying more than 60,000 cases have been reported so far in the fifth wave of the pandemic.

He also reminded people that the more stringent social distancing measures came into effect today, as well as the vaccine pass scheme that allows only vaccinated people to enter restaurants and other mass venues such as supermarkets and malls.

He again reminded people to get vaccinated and stay at home as much as possible.

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