A medical staff member dressed in a hazmat suit walks around Puxi during the city’s second phase of lockdown.
The record daily number of coronavirus infections reported in Shanghai on Friday was attributed to the wider range of testing carried out during the city’s gradual lockdown, according to the city’s health commission.
More than 14 million residents of Puxi have received their first round of nucleic acid tests during Shanghai’s phase II lockdown since Friday, said Wu Qianyu, an official with the Shanghai Health Commission.
Earlier this week, some 18 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, twice for each citizen, were carried out in the city’s phase I lockdown regions on the east and south banks of the Huangpu River.
The city reported 260 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases Friday with mild symptoms and 6,051 local asymptomatic infections, compared to some 4,400 positive cases reported Thursday.
“The expanded scale of COVID-19 testing is the reason for the increase in the number of positive cases reported in Shanghai today,” Wu said at the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing, which held in line due to the lockdown in Puxi.
Of all the local infections, two confirmed patients are previously asymptomatic infections. Eight confirmed patients and 5,402 asymptomatic cases were detected during the central quarantine, while the rest were found during the screening of high-risk people.
An ambulance during the lockdown in Puxi.
All Puxi residents will receive the second round of PCR tests on Sunday. They are required to stay home and work from home during the lockdown, which is expected to be lifted Tuesday morning.
During testing, residents are advised to properly wear a mask, keep two meters away from others, as well as avoid gatherings, conversations or smoking to prevent cross-infection, Wu noted.
The lockdown of Pudong New Area, Fengxian, Jinshan and Chongming districts as well as parts of Minhang and Songjiang districts was launched between Monday and Friday. It was immediately followed by the next phase for the rest of Puxi town until April 5.
Since Friday, classified follow-up quarantine measures have been imposed in different areas of Pudong. The district government on Saturday issued a notice saying that all areas in Pudong are listed as “closed” or “controlled” areas, which means residents must stay at home or within their communities.
To ensure medical services to residents under the lockdown, emergency departments of all local hospitals opened after taking all preventive measures, Wu said.
Each district has established a smooth channel between communities and hospitals to meet the demands of patients under lockdown, she noted.
People in serious condition can dial 120 and ask the village or neighborhood committees to go to the hospital.
People requiring hemodialysis, radiation therapy and chemotherapy as well as pregnant women will be transferred to nearby designated hospitals, most of which are comprehensive hospitals with strong treatment capabilities, Wu said.
Meanwhile, Shanghai has approved 76 internet hospitals, including municipal, district and community hospitals and some non-public medical institutes, to offer consultation, prescription and medicine delivery services during the lockdown, according to the commission.
Business at local internet hospitals has increased by around 80% since the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai in early March.
These online hospitals have deployed additional staff as well as service hours and contents to meet the growing demands. Some have opened specialized or expert clinics online.
Local village and ward committees can collect information from residents seeking medical services and coordinate with designated hospitals in the area to serve residents, Wu said.
In addition to public hospitals, local private hospitals, international hospitals and blood centers have also actively participated in the large nucleic acid test to help solve the labor shortage.
A dozen medical staff from Shanghai United Family Hospital traveled to communities to collect PCR samples. The team includes several international employees.
In addition to serving the community, the hospital’s medical operations are continuing during the current lockdown in Pudong and Puxi from March 28, officials said.
Its emergency department received a 56-year-old Japanese man from a gated community in Puxi on Thursday. The man with chest pains was transported there by an ambulance.
Hospital officials said they have contingency plans to deal with medical emergencies to keep patients and doctors safe.
“The patient said he had chest pain for days and the pain became severe in the morning,” said Li Xiaoguang, director of the hospital’s emergency department. “Upon his arrival, medics in protective uniforms will perform emergency surgery in accordance with emergency plans.”
The patient arrived at 2:17 p.m. and was sent to the emergency room at 3:20 p.m. He was returned to a negative air pressure ward after two stents were implanted to open blockages in the arteries. A negative nucleic acid report was released at 6:30 p.m.
No matter whether a patient has a nucleic acid report or not, doctors with protective measures will carry out the treatment at first, medical staff reassured the public.
Shanghai United Family Hospital doctors wearing protective clothing perform emergency treatment on a Japanese patient with chest pain.
Doctors from Shanghai United Family Hospital support PCR testing in communities.