CHP investigates 58 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19
The newly reported cases announced today involve 24 males and 34 females aged between six and 92 years. Among them, eight had travel history during the incubation period.
As for the local cases, as the 1 700th case involved a resident of a residential care home for the elderly (RCHE), namely Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Jockey Club Harmony Villa in Wong Chuk Hang, and the 1 691st case and the 1 708th case involved two staff members of the RCHE, residents and staff of the RCHE who were identified as close contacts will be required to undergo quarantine. Noting that residents of the RCHE might have special care needs, the DH staff conducted a site visit with personnel from the Hospital Authority (HA) to determine if the environment of the RCHE is suitable for on-site quarantine of residents.
Upon joint inspection by infection control experts of the DH and personnel from HA , it is considered that the RCHE has implemented infection control measures and can provide suitable environment for residents who were identified as close contacts for on-site quarantine at specific areas in the RCHE. Staff members of the RCHE who were identified as close contacts will be arranged to quarantine centre for quarantine.
The Government will closely monitor the infection control work of the RCHE and personnel will visit the RCHE to remind its staff members to follow the Guidelines for Residential Care Homes for the Elderly or Persons with Disabilities for the Prevention of COVID-19 issued by the CHP. Advice and trainings will be provided to its staff members based on the on-site environmental assessment at the RCHE to ensure a safe quarantine arrangement.
As for the local cases, the CHP will distribute deep throat saliva specimen bottles to residents of buildings where the patients live, as well as to those with whom they might have had contact during the infectious period. However, as there are recently a large number of confirmed cases, the relevant testing capacity remained limited even though the DH has earlier procured testing services directly from local private laboratories to enhance public testing capacity. Hence, the CHP will, based on risk assessment, accord priority to people with higher risk (for example, those who live in buildings with more than one unit with confirmed cases of unknown source) when distributing specimen bottles for testing. People are also urged to seek medical attention early even if mild symptoms develop to help prevent the spread of the disease in the community.
The CHP's epidemiological investigations and relevant contact tracing on the confirmed cases are ongoing. For case details and contact tracing information, please see the Annex.
In view of the severe epidemic situation, the CHP called on members of the public to avoid going out, having social contact and dining out. They should put on a surgical mask and maintain stringent hand hygiene when they need to go out. As a number of recent cases involve elderly people, the CHP strongly urged the elderly to stay home as far as possible and avoid going out. They should consider asking their family and friends to help with every day tasks such as shopping for basic necessities.
A spokesman for the CHP said, "Given that the situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases reported around the world, members of the public are strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong.
"The CHP also strongly urges the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene, which is key to personal protection against infection and prevention of the spread of the disease in the community. On a personal level, members of the public should wear a surgical mask when having respiratory symptoms, taking public transport or staying in crowded places. They should also perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
"As for household environmental hygiene, members of the public are advised to maintain drainage pipes properly, regularly pour water into drain outlets (U-traps) and cover all floor drain outlets when they are not in use. After using the toilet, they should put the toilet lid down before flushing to avoid spreading germs."
Moreover, the Government has launched the website "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk) for announcing the latest updates on various news on COVID-19 infection and health advice to help the public understand the latest updates. Members of the public may also gain access to information via the COVID-19 WhatsApp Helpline launched by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer. Simply by saving 9617 1823 in their phone contacts or clicking the link wa.me/85296171823?text=hi, they will be able to obtain information on COVID-19 as well as the "StayHomeSafe" mobile app and wristband via WhatsApp.
To prevent pneumonia and respiratory tract infection, members of the public should always maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. They are advised to:
• Wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. It is important to wear a mask properly, including performing hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask;
• Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, after touching public installations such as handrails or doorknobs, or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
• Maintain drainage pipes properly and regularly (about once a week) pour about half a litre of water into each drain outlet (U-trap) to ensure environmental hygiene;
• Cover all floor drain outlets when they are not in use;
• After using the toilet, put the toilet lid down before flushing to avoid spreading germs;
• Wash hands with liquid soap and water, and rub for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse with water and dry with a disposable paper towel. If hand washing facilities are not available, or when hands are not visibly soiled, performing hand hygiene with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub is an effective alternative;
• Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissues into a lidded rubbish bin, then wash hands thoroughly; and
• When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending class at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly.
Ends/Friday, July 17, 2020
Issued at HKT 22:12
Issued at HKT 22:12