HK eases discharge criteria as 17,063 cases reported

Hong Kong is easing its discharge criteria for Covid patients and close contacts in quarantine, as the city reported 17,063 new Covid notification cases and 66 deaths on Saturday.

All but six of the new infections were locally transmitted.

The patients who died were aged 19 to 101, with 61 of them being elderly people. Only eight of the patients, who passed away, had received one or two jabs, with the rest being unvaccinated.

The 19-year-old patient who died had chronic illnesses and lived in a care home.

Health officials also announced the deaths of a further 22 patients, which occurred between February 20 and 24 but had yet to be reported.

There were also 40 more patients who are in a critical condition, and 97 who are in serious condition.

So far in this infection wave, 470 care homes have been hit by Covid, involving 1,943 residents and over 600 staff.

To free up hospital beds for more serious patients, the Hospital Authority (HA) has said patients, deemed fit for discharge by doctors, will be able to return home and observe isolation until the 14th day from their original positive test.

“If they consider the patient is relatively stable and ready for discharge, they will arrange for discharge based on different criteria – like the clinical conditions, the symptoms, investigations among many other things,” said HA’s chief executive, Tony Ko.

The patient’s living environment will also be taken into account.

In addition, patients waiting for admission or spending time in isolation facilities, as well as close contacts undergoing quarantine, might be able to leave their residence or relevant facility after spending a week in isolation, if they’ve been double jabbed.

“Those who are pending admission or undergoing home quarantine, if on both day six and day seven of their period of pending admission or during home quarantine, if their RAT [rapid antigen test] tested negative, then they could be released,” said the Director of Health, Ronald Lam.

The HA is also opening eight more clinics to treat Covid patients with mild symptoms from March 1.

Soon, a total of 17 clinics will provide such services, with a daily quota of 3,000.

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USEFUL LINKS
General Covid-19 situation: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/
Covid-19 testing: https://www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/
Compulsory testing notices: https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/105294.html
Community Clinics for Covid-19 patients: https://bit.ly/35nnudX
Vaccination programme: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/
Vaccination pass scheme: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/vaccine-pass.html
Hotline for Covid-positive patients: 1836 115