Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are set to begin the gradual restructuring of COVID-19 field hospitals this month as the city’s infection rate has slowed down and its vaccination program is sped up.
As per the road map set out by the municipal Department of Health, schools, dormitories, and apartment buildings that have been requisitioned for COVID-19 quarantine and treatment purposes will return to their original functions in three phases, starting at the end of this month and lasting until December.
COVID-19 field hospitals No. 3, 6, and 8, which were equipped with oxygen supply and resuscitation beds in the Thu Thiem resettlement area, located in Thu Duc City, and COVID-19 field hospital No. 5 in District 5 will be the last to bite the dust.
They will continue admitting coronavirus inpatients after other infirmaries of their class are shuttered.
At the same time, 15 district-level COVID-19 field hospitals with a combined capacity of nearly 7,000 beds will receive patients whose houses fail to meet home quarantine requirements, as Vietnam quarantines suspected cases, patients, and their contacts both at home and centralized facilities.
The health department requested districts without COVID-19 field hospitals quickly set up one with at least 300 beds, 30 to 50 of which must include oxygen tanks.
Either district-level or city-level hospitals located in the same neighborhood will manage the newly-established field hospitals.
In addition, district authorities must relocate field hospitals inside the premises of schools to new appropriate facilities.
Three of the city’s ten resuscitation centers managed by Viet Duc University Hospital doctors from Hanoi, Bach Mai Hospital staff from the capital, and Hue Central Hospital medics from Thua Thien-Hue Province will be respectively handed over to the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City on October 15, Gia Dinh People’s Hospital on October 20, and 115 People’s Hospital at the end of this year.
Upon their handover, the three resuscitation centers will merge with the newly-established COVID-19 field hospitals No. 16, 13, and 14 to treat patients in three levels based on their severity.
The health department will mobilize medical staff from general, specialized, and district-level hospitals across the city to work at those three field hospitals in rotation.
Health authorities have established 16 city-level makeshift hospitals since early July, providing 37,000 beds for patients with no or mild symptoms. About 9,400 patients are being treated at such institutions.
The restructuring of COVID-19 field hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City comes as the city’s daily infections have been on a downward trajectory, from nearly 4,700 cases on September 29 to 2,215 on Friday.
Over seven million of its nearly-nine-million population have been given at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and above 4.9 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.
The hardest-hit locality since the fourth virus wave struck Vietnam on April 27, Ho Chi Minh City has reported 407,399 local patients, accounting for half of the national tally of 827,033 community transmissions. Its death toll has reached 15,603 fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health's data.
Vietnam has registered 831,643 patients, including 759,482 recoveries and 20,337 deaths, since the pandemic first struck it early last year.