Saigon builds $11 million field hospital post-haste to combat coronavirus

By Le Phuong, Huu Cong   February 3, 2020 | 06:35 am PT
Saigon builds $11 million field hospital post-haste to combat coronavirus
Health officials visit two patients infected with the Wuhan coronavirus at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, January 23, 2020. Photo by VnExpress.
HCMC has begun work on a VND255 billion ($11 million) field hospital with facilities in two locations to deal with the new coronavirus infections.

The hospital, being built by the HCMC Department of Health and the municipal Military Command, is expected to be completed by mid-February.

When the admitted Wuhan pneumonia cases in HCMC, suspected or confirmed, exceed 500, the field hospital will be deployed to quarantine and treat, Nguyen Tan Binh, director of HCMC Department of Health said at a meeting Monday.

The hospitals currently under the department cannot handle 500 cases at a time, he said.

The field hospital will have 500 beds with at least 30 post-treatment recovery beds (used to stabilize a patient’s condition). It will be divided into two facilities, one with 300 beds (20 post-treatment recovery beds) located at the City Military School in Cu Chi District and the other in Phu Xuan Commune, Nha Be District will have 200 beds (10 post-treatment recovery beds).

The hospital will also be equipped with medical equipment including ventilators, monitors, X-rays, protective clothing, and five ambulances.

Doctors and nurses from public hospitals like Nhan Dan 115, Nhan Dan Gia Dinh, Nguyen Tri Phuong, and Trung Vuong – all located in HCMC – will be mobilized to work at the field hospital after it opens.

The health department will manage the field hospital’s operations, while the city’s Military Command will spearhead implementation of disease prevention activities using its units.

In case the number of patients exceeds the capacity of the new field hospital, Pham Ngoc Thanh Lung Hospital in District 5, which has 500 beds, will serve as a backup to treat acute pneumonia cases.

Binh said the city has asked the HCMC Central Committee to permit Hospital for Tropical Diseases in District 5 to carry out coronavirus tests.

As of now, HCMC Pasteur Institute is the only one assigned to test suspected cases of the virus reported from the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan to the entire southern region.

The government declared the novel coronavirus (nVoC) an epidemic on Saturday. As of Monday, the country has recorded 236 suspected cases with symptoms like high fever and coughing, including some who had visited infected areas in China. Of these, 163 have tested negative for the virus and 73 are quarantined pending test results.

Eight people in the country have been confirmed infected with the virus, including a woman who has recovered and was discharged from the hospital on Monday.

The death toll from the epidemic has reached 361 people in China and one in the Philippines. Over 17,400 have been infected while more than 500 have recovered.

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