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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Hospital Authority today said it will arrange a second COVID-19 test for patients who still have symptoms of the virus after testing negative on admission to hospital.

The authority’s Chief Infection Control Officer Dr Raymond Lai made the announcement at a press briefing this afternoon, adding that the new measure aims to minimise the risk of false negative test results.

He explained that the second test will be conducted two days after the patient is admitted to hospital.

“In most of our wards, the initial arrangement of COVID-19 testing for patients on admission is that the majority of them will be admitted to a surveillance ward for the first testing because in the surveillance ward, there is sufficient distance between patient beds and all staff are wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) while taking care of patients.

“When the first COVID-19 test result is negative, sometimes if the patient is still having symptoms compatible with COVID-19 infection, they will repeat the test for the patient while the patient is staying in the surveillance ward.

“But in some circumstances, because of the limited number of beds in the surveillance ward, they will transfer or ‘step down’ the patients to a general ward. They will also repeat, as we discussed at this morning’s meeting, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the patients in that general ward.”

Meanwhile, people who are allowed to visit patients based on compassionate grounds are required to get tested beforehand if possible.

The authority will also explore the feasibility of arranging for all its frontline staff to undergo COVID-19 testing regularly, Dr Lai added.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News