Daily Covid recoveries outnumber hospitalized patients in HCMC

By Le Phuong   September 30, 2021 | 02:15 am PT
Daily Covid recoveries outnumber hospitalized patients in HCMC
Discharged Covid-19 patients wave goodbye to health workers at a field hospital in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Lan Anh
As the number of Covid recoveries continues to eclipse hospitalized patients and severe cases fade from hospital wards, things might be looking up for HCMC.

On Sept. 27, only around 2,600 Covid-19 cases were hospitalized while 3,100 patients were discharged. The trend has been apparent for days, with discharged patients outnumbering those admitted to hospital. In certain hospitals, the number of Covid-19 patients only takes up half of maximum capacity.

They were marked changes from a few months back, when the number of new patients consistently overwhelmed the number of discharged cases, pushing medical facilities to the limit. Field hospitals have had to be erected and existing ones had to shift their functions to deal with new waves of coronavirus patients.

Thanks to vaccination efforts and management of Covid-19 patients at home, there is now hope for a light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. Fewer deaths and more empty beds also mean a less burnt out medical workforce.

Trung Vuong Hospital, one of Ho Chi Minh City's first facilities to specialize in Covid-19 treatment back in June, now only cares for around 560 patients while having around 700 beds. For the past week, more patients are being discharged than those who come in, a stark contrast to when dozens of cases used to come to the hospital during the heights of infections, most of them being severe and those with underlying conditions.

Le Thanh Chien, the hospital director, said around 123 patients are receiving oxygen support, which is only about half the number of patients who needed it during the infection peak. The number of Covid-19 deaths have also been dropping, with around one to two a day, in contrast to around 11 deaths a day during the peak, he added.

In the suburbs, Cu Chi Covid-19 Treatment Hospital now only sees 350 patients among 500 beds. Back in mid-June when it was first converted into a hospital specializing in treating Covid-19, coronavirus cases filled up all beds in a matter of days, requiring constant support regarding ventilators and other medical equipment.

"The numbers of severe cases and deaths have dropped significantly. Most of the current severe cases are those admitted previously," said Tranh Chanh Xuan, director of the hospital.

In numerous field hospitals, beds have also started to empty even though not many patients are being discharged. The silver lining is the fact that the number of severe cases has markedly dropped from before.

Many current field hospitals are only operating at half of their maximum capacity, with fewer patients needing oxygen support.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, director of a local field hospital in District 8, said his hospital has not recorded any deaths for half a month now.

"We only have a few dozen severe cases who require oxygen support. Back during the infection peak, around 130-140 cases would need oxygen support daily," he said.

Quarantine camps have seen fewer coronavirus cases too. In Cu Chi District, such camps only saw around 79 cases among their 2,400 beds on Sept. 28. Another camp at Trung Lap Thuong Primary School only treats 70 cases, in contrast to around 200 previously.

Similarly in Thu Duc City, five quarantine camps, with a total capacity of 4,400 beds, only saw 2,900 Covid-19 cases being quarantined there on Sept. 28.

Nguyen Hong Son, director of 175 Military Hospital, said the number of Covid-19 cases turning severe is dropping thanks to vaccination and Covid-19 treatment. Health workers have also been gaining experience throughout the pandemic, and coupled with physical therapies, more patients have been recovering from the disease, he added.

Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health, said cases are dropping despite an ongoing Covid-19 testing campaign.

The HCMC Department of Health said it expects the number of severe cases and deaths would continue to drop in future. Meanwhile, Covid-19 treatment hospitals would also begin reverting back to their original functions once infections have died down.

The southern city, epicenter of the fourth coronavirus wave, has recorded 380,870 Covid cases so far and over 14,600 deaths.

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