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Fears of new local outbreak as 4 more people found infected in housing estate

01 June 2020

By The SUN

Four more residents of a building in a public housing estate in Shatin have reportedly tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 tonight, Jun 1, bringing the total number of infected people there to six.

The first two cases in Luk Chuen House in Lek Yuen Estate involve a 34-year-old woman who is in critical condition in Prince of Wales Hospital, and her 56-year-old husband.

If confirmed, the four additional cases will bring Hong Kong's total tally to 1091.

Three other cases linked to the sick woman were revealed by health officials today.

The first two, both women aged 40 and 36, work with her at the Kerry Logistics warehouse in Kwai Chung, while the third is an ambulanceman who took her to the hospital on Saturday.

According to local media reports, the four new confirmed cases are all women, aged 55 to 88 years old.
They were among more than 600 residents of the housing estate who were given sample bottles after the couple was found infected on Sunday.

The reports say it is not known whether the new confirmed patients had any physical contact with their previously diagnosed neighbors.

A similar cluster outbreak happened earlier in Cheung Hong Estate, Tsing Yi, where a total of seven people were infected. An inspection revealed that two of the patients lived in the same flat number, 7, but were separated by 10 floors.
Experts later concluded that the virus must have spread through the pipes because of a faulty plumbing design in the building.

The same cause was cited in the mass infestation that occurred in Amoy Gardens in Kowloon during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003.

The virus also spread in this food factory where the first patient in the cluster works

Earlier on Monday, health officials urged private doctors to immediately send any patient with respiratory symptoms for Covid-19 testing, after noting that all three women who worked in the Kerry warehouse had been to private clinics after feeling unwell.

Undersecretary for Health Chui Tak-yi said the authorities are concerned about the latest cluster of local infections, which occurred after two weeks of no local transmission.


He reminded private doctors they should get patients tested for coronavirus even if their symptoms are mild.

Another concern was the low-level infection found in the paramedic, the first health frontliner in the city to contract Covid-19.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said the man had performed some procedures on the sick woman, but was only wearing a surgical mask and not an N95 respirator.

Chuang said the paramedic was asymptomatic with a low viral load. She said this was “strange,” as it could mean he had been infected before.

He has been classified as a “probable cause” and was not yet added to the official list of infected people.

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