A temporary hospital on Lantau Island targeting Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms will open its doors on February 26, while also raising the city’s coronavirus testing capacity at public hospitals by 10 to 15 per cent.
The North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre, located next to AsiaWorld-Expo where a community treatment facility has been set up, will share the burden of other public hospitals amid the pandemic.
The facility, equipped with 816 isolation beds in six blocks of wards and a medical centre with a laboratory and pharmacy, was built with the support of the central government after a request was made by Hong Kong in July last year during the third wave of Covid-19. The construction, which began in September, was completed last month.
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“We will launch 48 beds first, and add more depending on the pandemic situation,” Dr Michael Wong Lap-gate, deputy chief executive of North Lantau Hospital, said on Tuesday.
He added that 15 doctors and 40 nurses would be deployed to support the services at the initial stage, and more could be added if necessary.
Slated as a buffer between hospitals meant for the most serious patients and community treatment facilities catering to those with the mildest symptoms, the temporary hospital will be able to offer patients oxygen supply and antiviral medications. But patients will be shifted to major hospitals if their conditions deteriorate.
The hospital’s laboratory, which is expected to begin service on February 17, has the capacity to screen around 1,500 samples for the coronavirus every day.
That would raise the overall Covid-19 testing capacity of the city’s public hospitals by 10 to 15 per cent, said Dr Law Chun-bon, chief of the Kowloon West group of public hospitals which manages the facility.
Spanning more than 322,000 sq ft, the hospital will feature separate entrances for Covid-19 patients and health care workers in each block of wards to minimise infection risks.
Covid-19 patients with mild or moderate conditions, aged between 16 and 65, will be able to seek admission there.
Dr Jacky Chan Man-chun, an associate consultant at Princess Margaret Hospital, said three types of patients would be admitted to the hospital. They include new cases directly identified from the community, patients from the adjacent community treatment facility who will require stepped-up care, and those from major hospitals whose conditions have been stabilised and who will not need a high level of care any more.
“The AsiaWorld-Expo treatment facility currently hosts about 200 patients. Theoretically, all these patients could be transferred here for management,” Law said.
But Law did not specify how many public hospital patients in total could be transferred to the new facility.
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