Doctors and experts discuss the treatment of severe COVID-19 patients using online video calls at the southern branch of Renji Hospital in East China's Shanghai, April 24, 2022. (Photo/Xinhua)
Hospitals turn to innovative ways to treat patients as restrictions remain
As Shanghai fights a grueling battle to get the current COVID-19 outbreak under control, online medical consultations have alleviated pressures on people in lockeddown areas, the city health commission said on Monday.
Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the commission, said around 100 hospitals are operating online services, such as initial and follow-up consultations, online prescriptions and medicine delivery.
The number of people seeking online consultation since the start of the month is more than five times the level of the same period last year, said Zhao.
"It has relieved the pressure on in-person hospital visits and reduced the risk of spreading the virus," he said.
The government has integrated online hospital services into its e-portal, and will encourage hospitals to provide more services in dealing with chronic diseases, Zhang said. "We will also do our best to solve the difficulties related to medicine delivery."
On another front, the city emergency center has been running at full capacity as calls for ambulances have risen by 12.3 times.
"We have called back all staff who were able to work, and all of them have been working around the clock to save lives, some even work 16 hours a day," Zhao said, adding that the commission is coordinating more transport resources, including taxi companies and volunteers, to shorten the waiting times for patients in emergency.
The commission said another round of citywide testing will start on Tuesday. The city registered 2,472 locally transmitted COVID-19 confirmed cases and 16,983 asymptomatic infections on Sunday.
Sunday witnessed a record daily high of 51 fatalities, with an average age of 84.2, bringing the death toll from the outbreak to 138.
There are currently 196 COVID-19 patients with serious symptoms and 23 patients in critical condition receiving treatment in designated hospitals as of Sunday, Zhao said.
A 15-minute nucleic acid testing service circle, which allows residents anywhere in the city to have access to nucleic acid testing within a 15-minute walk, is taking shape as the government works toward resuming production.
Qi Keping, deputy head of Yangpu, said the district has planned 110 nucleic testing sites, which will be open by early May, to meet the testing demand of essential workers such as truck drivers and couriers.
The testing sites will be put at entries to residential communities, metro stations, outdoor squares, industrial parks and supermarkets, Qi said, adding that the testing staff will come from both hospitals and third-party organizations.