Coronavirus cases 'plateau' in HCMC

By Le Phuong   August 4, 2021 | 03:44 pm PT
Coronavirus cases 'plateau' in HCMC
A Covid-19 resuscitation center set up at a field hospital in HCMC's District 12 is open on August 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
New coronavirus infections in HCMC have been "plateauing" over the past few days, indicating a gradual reduction, officials said.

The highest number of new cases recorded within a day was on July 27 with 6,318. Earlier, daily cases in the southern city averaged around 5,000, and from July 28 onward, around 4,000, deputy city chairman Duong Anh Duc said Tuesday.

The Covid-19 situation in Ho Chi Minh City has begun to show positive signs in recent days, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control (CDC). Most newly detected cases have already been contained within quarantine zones or other locked down areas, it added.

Le Quoc Hung, head of the Tropical Disease Department in HCMC's Cho Ray Hospital, said whether the southern city had passed the peak of its current coronavirus wave cannot yet be determined. Multiple factors may contribute to the "plateauing" of new coronavirus cases in HCMC, including the fact that large numbers of detected cases had been isolated daily, at around 4,000 a day, which helped slow down infection rates, he said.

Additionally, more people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 throughout the past week, which also helped reduce infection risks. People had also departed from the city for their hometowns, which drove down the number of cases in HCMC, but introduced more in other localities, he added.

"All these factors have contributed to the decreasing numbers of new coronavirus cases in HCMC. But whether it would continue will be determined over the next one to two weeks," Hung said.

Daily new cases in HCMC in the fourth wave. Graphics by VnExpress.

Daily new cases in HCMC in the fourth wave. Graphics by VnExpress.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has rendered ordinary methods of contact tracing and isolation ineffective to completely contain outbreaks, which only serve to slow down infections, he added.

"The most important thing for now is to speed up vaccination and continue coronavirus control measures. Preventative measures must also go hand in hand with treatment."

Daily numbers of new Covid-19 infections remain high in HCMC at around 4,000 per day, filling up hospitals quickly. As severe coronavirus cases require over two weeks in hospitals before discharge, the number of newly constructed hospitals could not keep up with new infections, he said.

While HCMC has set up several ICUs to treat severe cases and prevent deaths, what's more important is preventing mild cases from turning severe and helping them recover quickly. High numbers of patients would eventually impact the quality of the healthcare system as a whole, which could impact people's health, Hung said.

New coronavirus patients must be treated vigorously before symptoms become severe, while drugs and other treatment methods might be used to achieve this goal, he said.

Phan Van Mai, deputy secretary of the HCMC Standing Party Committee, said the city is ramping up its Covid-19 treatment capabilities to prevent scenarios where patients are admitted to hospitals too late and die as a result.

"Treating severe coronavirus cases and preventing deaths is the city's current issue," Mai said at a Tuesday press meet.

Vietnam has so far recorded over 2,200 Covid-19 deaths in the new wave, with HCMC accounting for over 1,600.

As of Monday, hospitals in the southern city held 33,474 patients, including 1,026 severe cases that need ventilator support and 15 who require ECMOs.

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