Two nurses in Hanoi became the latest patients to contract the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Friday, as Vietnam announced its case tally rose to 87.
The two work at Bach Mai Hospital in the capital, according to a report by the Ministry of Health.
They are the first health workers to be infected with the virus in Vietnam.
Patient No. 86, is a nurse in the HIV outpatient unit of the center for tropical diseases at Bach Mai Hospital.
The 54-year-old patient caught flight VN7209 from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and flight VN8059 from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao, an archipelago of Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam, on March 6.
She returned to Hanoi two days later on board a flight whose code she could not remember.
She went to work on March 9 and showed no clinical signs.
On March 11, the patient suffered chest tightness, no fever, no coughing, and was admitted to the Vietnam National Heart Institute under Bach Mai Hospital.
She was treated for hypertension and chest tightness for four days because she has a history of high blood pressure. She always wore a face mask during her treatment at the institute.
She was discharged from the institute on Thursday morning.
As she had close contact with patient No. 87, who had tested positive for the virus, she was screened on the same day. Her test returned positive on Thursday night.
The nurse was sent to the second branch of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for isolation at 11:00 pm that day.
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology confirmed her test result on Friday afternoon.
Patient No. 87 is a 34-year-old nurse, in charge of reception in the isolation ward of the center for tropical diseases at Bach Mai Hospital.
She displayed symptoms of fatigue, coughing, and fever and then tested positive for the new coronavirus at the hospital on Wednesday.
She was transferred to the second branch of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for quarantine.
Her test result was confirmed by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on Thursday night.
She had come in close contact with patient No. 86, according to a tracking report.
Medical staff wear full protective clothing while working in the isolation ward of the center for tropical diseases, located on the first floor of Bach Mai Hospital. The nurse started her work in the isolation ward in early February. She captures patient information into a computer, fills out forms, and takes vital signs on patients daily.
The center for tropical diseases screens patients of acute respiratory illness, according to a Bach Mai Hospital report.
Bach Mai has transferred suspected cases to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and no infection has been recorded to date.
The two new patients were isolated as suspected cases in the very first place, the hospital insisted.
Their family and close contacts have been screened, tested, and quarantined.
Those in contact with the two patients’ close contacts are being monitored while the affected areas have been fumigated.
Inpatients treated at the center for tropical diseases have been sent to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for continued care.
The Ministry of Health is calling on the community to be united behind frontline medical workers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam has confirmed 87 cases so far, with 17 having fully recovered and been discharged.