A small virus outbreak was discovered at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on Friday after a 77-year-old woman with the coronavirus died in her room on Thursday.
The woman, who had lived in a single room on the 33rd floor of the hospital since August, had been visited by relatives and friends. She developed a fever on Wednesday and had difficulty breathing on Thursday. She died on the same day and tested positive, according to the Center for Health Protection.
Of the 30 medical staff in the hospital, two tested positive preliminarily. One had been involved in trying to resuscitate the patient. Thirteen people living on the same floor are required to isolate for 14 days.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, the head of the communicable diseases branch of the Center for Health Protection, said it was likely the woman was infected by her relatives or medical staff. Chuang said health officials would continue to investigate the case.
The Center for Health Protection said 92 cases had been recorded, including three imported ones. Of that number, 72 could be linked to previous cases and there were 17 local infections with unknown sources within 24 hours on Thursday.
Of the local patients, 58 were related to a dance club cluster, which was the biggest infected group in Hong Kong with 369 patients as of Friday. The latest cases take Hong Kong’s Covid-19 tally to 6,039.
Chuang said the overall coronavirus situation in Hong Kong was worsening. She said it might take one to two weeks to see if the latest social distancing measures could flatten the curve.
“The number today is the highest since early November. We’re of course worried about the trend. You can imagine if one patient infected two relatives, the number will double,” Chuang said.
“A patient may infect 10 other people if he or she has meals with 10 friends during the communicable period. The number can be escalating very fast.”
The 17 local cases with no known sources were located in different districts across Hong Kong and included some students, housewives and retired people. A 14-year-old student, who studied at SKH All Saints’ Middle School, was infected.
The school will be closed for sterilization in the coming two weeks. All students and teachers at the school will be tested.
There were more than 60 people who tested positive preliminarily on Friday. A woman, who worked as a pediatric nurse at the Princess Margaret Hospital, tested positive preliminarily after she took her daughter to a piano class on Wednesday and an infected person was there.
They did not wear masks during the meeting. With protective gear, the nurse had taken care of four newborn babies, who tested negative. Parents of 20 babies in the same room with the nurse were asked to be tested.
An orthopedic patient has been isolated after he was sent to the Tuen Mun Hospital and tested positive preliminarily. He has remained asymptomatic.
A 72-year-old renal patient went to the Renal Dialysis Center of the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on Tuesday and tested positive preliminarily on Thursday. He later told medical staff that his wife was among the patients in the “dance club cluster.”
Linda Yu Wai-ling, the chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said the public should stay vigilant and practice social distancing as hospitals were getting busy. Yu said the risk of virus transmission in hospitals had significantly increased in recent days.
Apart from these, universities were also facing the risk of virus transmission. The Education University of Hong Kong said Friday that a student from the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts was infected and would be quarantined in hospital. The university said the student went to the campus on Monday.
On Thursday, The Chinese University of Hong Kong said a student from the School of Journalism and Communication was infected. Hong Kong Baptist University said a student at the Department of Geography tested positive, but he had not returned to campus since October.