Hospitals should strictly comply with regulations on the prevention and control of COVID-19 released by the National Health Commission to prevent risk of infections within the hospital, experts told Health Times recently.
Data from the Changchun Health Commission shows that as of Tuesday, Changchun, Jilin province, had reported 18 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 195 asymptomatic carriers since the first five cases were found in the city's hospital for infectious diseases on Aug 31.
All the infections were tied to the hospital, including inpatients, caregivers and staff members.
"There may be two reasons for the outbreak in the hospital," Jiang Rongmeng, a senior expert in infectious diseases at Beijing Ditan Hospital, was quoted as saying. Jiang cited "unsatisfactory performance due to the obvious weaknesses and problems in the hospital's epidemic prevention and control work".
"Another possible reason may be that the outbreak occurred outside the hospital, which is a typical public place with a large number of people visiting every day," he said.
Seven officials from Changchun were punished for failing to prevent and control the recent outbreak, according to a statement from the provincial disciplinary watchdog on Tuesday.
The officials, including a vice mayor of Changchun, the director of the Changchun health commission and two deputy directors of the hospital, were removed from their posts or given warnings.
"Relevant departments should strengthen their supervision of hospital infection prevention and control," Jiang said. "It is also necessary to increase the allocation of professional staff and promote more professional training."
He also suggested that hospitals should increase investment in better environmental and ventilation equipment to meet the need for prevention and control.
Neighboring Heilongjiang province reported 14 confirmed cases and 179 asymptomatic carriers on Tuesday, the provincial Health Commission said on Wednesday. Of those, 12 confirmed cases and 172 asymptomatic carriers were found in Daqing, the commission said.
"Around 92 percent were asymptomatic carriers," Fan Wenshuang, deputy director of the city's health commission, said at a Tuesday news conference. "Static management is the best method to cut off the infection source."
The city started the static management at 9 pm on Aug 20 as the first three infected cases were reported in the recent outbreak on the day.
Two makeshift hospitals have been built in the city, she said.
"A makeshift hospital with 1,033 beds in Longfeng district was put into use on Sept 1 and the other, with 1,658 beds in Ranghulu district, is expected to open on Wednesday," she said. "The makeshift hospitals will be used to cut off the transmission route and prevent further transmission of the infection."