The Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital, the largest hospital specialising in infectious diseases in South China, accepted a total number of 181 asymptomatic cases, more than 70 percent of whom were foreign nationals. All of these patients including those who later developed into confirmed cases have now tested negative for COVID-19 as of May 19th.
According to the hospital, it has treated 1402 COVID-19 cases since it accepted the first patient on January 20th. The hospital also accepted the largest number of foreign patients in Guangdong who come from more than 30 countries.
An expat accepts treatment at Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital [Photo\Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital]
The hospital divided the past four months into two phases. ‘Phase I ’ refers to the period when they received locally confirmed cases while ‘Phase II’ refers to the period when the patients were mainly those coming back to China from overseas and locally transmitted cases related to those imported cases.
Although most patients during ‘Phase II’ were with mild symptoms or asymptomatic, it didn’t mean the treatment was easier, said Mo Xiaoneng, director of the respiratory disease department of Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital.
“These patients came from different countries so we met differences in religious beliefs and personal habits,” said Mo, “Some patients could not understand why they had to be quarantined because the regulations are different in their countries so we need to make further explanations to gain their understanding and cooperation.”
To solve the problem, the Guangzhou government sent officers from related departments to the hospital so that they could help the doctors overcome language barriers and cultural differences. Southern Medical University also arranged foreign volunteers to communicate with the foreign patients and ease their anxiety through video calls.
[Photo provided by Southern Medical University]
The photo shows FEMI MUYIDEEN OLUTOYE, a nursing PhD student of Southern Medical University contacting a Nigerian patient on May 14th, explaining the treatment process and related policies. According to the regulation, the patient can finally be discharged from hospital if they have tested negative for the virus twice and accept to undergo a further 14-day quarantine.
The hospital treated asymptomatic patients separately. There were regular meetings every day which gathered doctors to discuss the personalized treatment plans for each patient. A total of 32 meetings had been carried out for over 1,000 patients.
As there is no specific medicine that has proven effective in treating COVID-19, the hospital adopted TCM as adjuvant therapy. Tan Xinghua, director of TCM department of Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital, said that TCM was used on more than 90 percent of the asymptomatic patients, and that it was well accepted.
As of May 19th, only 8 of the 181 asymptomatic patients turned into confirmed cases, a conversion rate of 4 percent which is lower than the average rate of 8.03 percent nationwide.
Author: Jasmine, Zoey (intern)
Editor: Keane, Simon