Communities key in treating COVID

2022-12-21 09:18:57China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

A resident consults a doctor at a community fever clinic in Shanghai's Changning district on Monday. (YIN LIQIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

Medical services delivered closer to home to relieve strain on hospital system

Shanghai began to utilize up to 2,600 community fever clinics from Monday to tackle the rising demand for medical treatment for COVID-19, as a top infectious disease expert singled out the importance of community medical services in weathering the pandemic.

According to a statement by the city's health commission on Monday, people with fever can receive medical consultation and basic treatment at the clinics, which also provide 24-hour access to consultation online or on the phone.

These clinics will be given preferential treatment in receiving fever medications so that residents can obtain the drugs closer to home, the statement said.

Starting from Wednesday, outpatient and emergency services at Shanghai hospitals no longer require negative nucleic acid test results within 48 hours, but fever clinic patients need to conduct an antigen test, the city said on Tuesday.

"Ninety-nine percent of COVID-19 patients can be treated at the medical institutions at community level, while top-tier hospitals can treat the remaining 1 percent," Zhang Wenhong, head of the infectious disease department at Shanghai Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, said at a training seminar organized by the Shanghai Health Commission on Sunday.

"The medical workers in communities are the pillars in fighting the pandemic."

Shi Xiangdong, a medical worker at Huayang community in Songjiang district, said there has been a visible increase in the number of fever patients in recent days.

"We used to have only one or two fever patients a day. Yesterday, we had more than 20," Shi, who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine, told China Daily.

Shi believes the public has adjusted well to the new conditions, though worries remain among some.

"It is a psychological thing after being protected by the strict prevention and control measures for almost three years," he said.

Much of the worry has been allayed so far by the fact that very few people have presented with severe symptoms and that hospitals are still running smoothly, Shi said.

Medical professionals and institutions have utilized social media to connect with the public to give them a better understanding of the virus.

"My institutions are making instructional videos and I am also very active on WeChat. I think our main goals are providing medical services, vaccinations and scientific publicity so that the public can be better informed and put at ease," Shi said.

Managing COVID-19 cases at the community level has become key for Shanghai, and for the entire nation, in reducing the potential burden that could be placed on hospitals if the situation gets out of hand, the city's health authorities said in a statement over the weekend, adding that therefore it is vital that the public be better informed, have access to medicine and treatment at the community level.


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