City sees 4,508 new Covid cases, authorities mull looser guidelines for oral medications

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Hong Kong reported 4,508 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as health authorities said they were now considering lowering the bar for administering oral medication to patients.

Of the new cases, 4,288 were transmitted locally and the other 220 were imported cases, including 112 detected at the airport from 50 countries, said Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Health Protection Center.

Eighty-seven imported cases were identified in quarantine hotels and 21 were found in local communities after patients completed seven-day isolation, she continued.

Meanwhile, the Hospital Authority’s chief director of clinical effectiveness and technology management, Gladys Kwan Wai-man, said more than 38,000 doses of oral Covid treatments had been administered on Sunday. July 24, including about 10,000 doses to the emergency room or general services.

The oral treatments were also distributed to 400 patients by private doctors as of last Thursday (July 21), Kwan noted.

Kwan went on to say that while elderly patients’ symptoms could be mild, they could get worse quickly. She called on citizens to report their infections as soon as possible and said the authority is also looking into adjusting guidelines for dispensing oral Covid medications.

Three other retirement homes and a care center for the disabled have reported new Covid infections.

Meanwhile, the Health Protection Center has been notified of 482 positive cases in 371 schools involving 395 students and 87 teachers and staff.

The center is currently investigating a Covid cluster at Kwai Chung Hospital triggered by a worker’s infection. Two patients and another worker were also later found to be infected with the coronavirus, while four patients who remained in the same ward were listed as close contacts.

The authority reported 10 related deaths, including seven men and two women aged 74 to 97 who died on Tuesday. Another death involved a 76-year-old woman who died earlier. The number of deaths from the fifth wave now stands at 9,265.

Public hospitals and care facilities now house 1,390 Covid patients. Among them, 28 are in critical condition, 19 are in serious condition and eight are staying in hospital intensive care units. In the past 24 hours, 185 patients have recovered from Covid, and 168 of them have been discharged.

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