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HK posts another day of record infections and deaths from Covid-19

17 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Officials will free up more space for patients who have been waiting outside hospitals amid the cold (RTHK)

Health officials have reported yet another record number of confirmed cases and deaths in Hong Kong.

Speaking at today’s press briefing, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection announced that 6,116 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded as of midnight last night. Nine were imported and the rest were all locally acquired.

The preliminary positive cases were down slightly to 6,300 from yesterday’s record high of 7,000 cases.

A total of 24 Covid-related deaths were also reported, 14 males and 10 females. Fifteen died within the past 24 hours, while nine others passed away between Feb 11 and 15, but their deaths were not reported immediately.


They took Hong Kong’s death toll recorded in public hospitals to 219.

According to Dr Sara Ho from the Hospital Authority, most of the fatalities, who ranged in age from 36 to 98 years old, were unvaccinated. The 36-year-old had chronic ailments and needed long-term care, while the rest are mostly elderly.

A further 10 patients are in critical condition, and their ages range between 12 months and 94 years old. Among them is a 28-year-old woman whose condition deteriorated after giving birth, and had to be intubated in the intensive care unit.


“The child is safe,” said Dr Ho, who also reported an unprecedented 60 patients in serious condition.

For the first time, the CHP reported that 6,199 patients are quarantined at home, and 3,152 of them belong to family clusters.

The HA said that the remaining 2,866 patients are in various public hospitals and infection control centers, while 2,100 others with mild or no symptoms are in Penny’s Bay isolation facility.

Discharge will be quicker so vulnerable patients like the elderly can be admitted

Dr Ho acknowledged that amid the cold and rain, thousands of patients, many of them elderly, are being made to wait outside public hospitals, some of them in tents and others in open air, because there are no more beds available.

She said hospital staff are worried about their condition and are trying their best to cope despite the shortage of manpower. “It’s a very difficult situation for the whole society,” she said.

As of today, she said 140 of their personnel have tested preliminary positive or positive, and about 50 patients have been classified as close contacts.


She assured the patients that hospital staff will keep an eye on their condition and are working to get them indoors so they are not exposed to the elements.

To further alleviate the situation, Dr Ho said the discharge criteria for Covid-19 patients will be modified some more.

Those who are admitted to hospital and test negative after 14 days will be discharged, unless they belong to the high-risk categories, such as the elderly and those with long-term illnesses.

To free up more beds, residential care homes will be asked to take back their residents who are in hospital and could be discharged.

Press for details

Dr Ho said this has been a problem because many such facilities are reluctant to take back their residents, fearing this could increase the risk of infection among the other residents and staff.

She said that as part of stepped-up measures, said the help of private medical practitioners will be enlisted. The need for additional help is so severe that “if they reported this morning, they could start active duty in the afternoon,” she said.

Another measure being taken pertains to patients who are staying at home in compliance with the CHP’s directions, and announced by Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi.

Those lucky enough to secure a place in an isolation facility will be allowed to return home on the seventh day if they test negative prior to this, and their home setting allows it. But they will still need to isolate for a further seven days.


If the patient’s home setting is not deemed ideal, he or she will have to stay at the community isolation facility for 14 days and must test negative. Dr Chui said the 14th day is always the cut-off period

Dr Chui thanked those who tested positive and are waiting at home, but was not clear about whether they will need to be taken to an isolation facility still if they test negative in the meantime.

Asked to confirm reports that mandatory testing for all of Hong Kong’s 7,000 residents will soon be undertaken, Dr Chui said there are a number of steps that the government is planning to take up to help people.

He also said that the fifth wave has infected more people in Hong Kong than all the previous waves combined since the start of the pandemic. From January this year to yesterday, he said 30,955 cases have been confirmed.

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