Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has announced a new treatment protocol meant to relieve pressure on COVID-19 hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, given the rapid increase in local infections.
During a meeting with authorities from Ho Chi Minh City and other southern localities on Wednesday, Minister Long said that the pandemic would continue to worsen, with rising numbers of new cases and seriously-ill patients.
Aside from exerting efforts to curb the spread of the virus, reducing the number of coronavirus-related deaths is a major priority.
To do so, measures must be taken to relieve pressure on the healthcare system so that doctors and nurses can focus on treating individuals who are critically sickened by COVID-19.
The health minister and pandemic prevention and control facilities in southern Vietnam thus decided to implement the new treatment protocol.
Suspected COVID-19 cases whose rapid tests return positive will now be quarantined at home or at temporary facilities managed by local authorities.
If they their real-time RT-PCR tests come back positive but the viral load is low, the patients are allowed to be monitored at home.
If these patients cannot meet requirements for home quarantine and pose a high risk of spreading the disease to the community, they will be brought to facilities dedicated to managing and care for COVID-19 patients in early stages.
These venues can be established at local dormitories or hotels.
Patients whose symptoms progress are to be monitored and treated at makeshift COVID-19 hospitals or district-level medical centers.
Those who are in critical conditions are to be promptly admitted to infirmaries with intensive care units, or to the second branch of the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital in Thu Duc City, which is equipped with 1,000 resuscitation beds for COVID-19 treatment.
To reduce pressure on the treatment system, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has directed competent authorities to set up district-level concentrated quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients, discharge asymptomatic patients from COVID-19 treatment hospitals, and expand the scope of home quarantine for direct contacts.
Vietnam had documented 94,913 COVID-19 cases by Sunday morning, with 17,583 recoveries and 370 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
The country has recorded 91,165 local infections in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth transmission wave began on April 27.
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest outbreak site with 58,198 cases reported during this wave.