Source of in­fec­tion iso­lated in Qing­dao

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XIE CHUANJIAO xiechuan­jiao@chi­

The COVID-19 out­break in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, has been traced to two dock work­ers, of­fi­cials said on Fri­day. It was spread through poor dis­in­fec­tion of a CT scan­ning room shared by pa­tients with the novel coro­n­avirus and other con­di­tions at Qing­dao Pul­monary Hospi­tal, they said.

The out­break prompted a cam­paign aim­ing to test the city’s 11 mil­lion res­i­dents in five days.

Be­tween Sun­day and Tues­day, the city re­ported a clus­ter of 12 con­firmed coro­n­avirus cases.

Two dock work­ers at Qing­dao Port had tested pos­i­tive on Sept 24 but were ini­tially asymp­to­matic.

One, sur­named Dong, be­gan show­ing symp­toms on Wed­nes­day, bring­ing the to­tal of con­firmed cases to 13.

At a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day, Ma Lixin, Party sec­re­tary of the Shan­dong Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, said the cases that were traced to the dock work­ers had only one thing in com­mon, the link to the hospi­tal.

Ma said among the pa­tients, one of the 12 sur­named Li, and her care­giver, Niu, had been in­fected in the CT scan­ning room where the dock work­ers had been ex­am­ined the pre­vi­ous day. Dis­in­fec­tion had not been con­ducted prop­erly, she said.

There was no con­tact be­tween the dock work­ers and the 12 oth­ers out­side the hospi­tal, so the com­mu­nity was not been ex­posed, Ma said.

The find­ing was based on timely mass con­tact trac­ing done by over 30 epi­demi­ol­o­gists and 800 po­lice of­fi­cers. They spent 72 hours an­a­lyz­ing over 10,000 hours of video and used big data tech­niques, she added.

Xue Qing­guo, Qing­dao’s vice­mayor, said the 13 pa­tients with con­firmed cases are be­ing iso­lated and treated at des­ig­nated hos­pi­tals.

Ma urged all hos­pi­tals to scru­ti­nize loop­holes in epi­demic preven­tion and con­trol and im­prove man­age­ment of med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

Sui Zhen­hua, di­rec­tor of the Qing­dao health com­mis­sion, was sus­pended and is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, and Deng Kai, dean of the pul­monary hospi­tal, was re­moved, ac­cord­ing to state­ments from the city gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day.

On Mon­day, Qing­dao started city­wide nu­cleic acid test­ing.

“As of 10 am on Fri­day, more than 10.82 mil­lion peo­ple had been sam­pled, while over 10.43 mil­lion col­lected sam­ples had been tested. Ex­cept for the cases al­ready re­ported, no new pos­i­tive sam­ples have been de­tected,” said Xue, adding that the city had al­most fin­ished mass test­ing six hours ahead of the des­ig­nated time.

Be­cause of the na­ture of the out­break, the city was able to use a mixed test­ing ap­proach in which 10 sam­ples would be tested to­gether to im­prove ef­fi­ciency.

“If a 10-in-1 sam­ple is pos­i­tive, we will in­form the 10 peo­ple to un­dergo sep­a­rate iso­la­tion and in­di­vid­ual tests to fur­ther iden­tify the car­rier of the pos­i­tive sam­ple,” said Zhang Huaqiang of the municipal cen­ter for dis­ease preven­tion and con­trol.

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