The plan is being made because of pandemic developments including new variants and outbreaks globally.
The department will continue to use available personnel and facilities at designated hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
These hospitals include Cu Chi COVID-19 Treatment Hospital with 300 beds, Can Gio COVID-19 Treatment Hospital with 600 beds, HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases with 40 beds at its Department for Transmissible Diseases D, and the City Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital 2.
These hospitals will be ready to increase the number of beds to admit COVID-19 patients and others suspected of having COVID-19 if an outbreak occurs.
If the hospitals become overloaded, the department will use Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital's 464 beds to admit COVID-19 patients.
The department has instructed hospitals in the city to prepare doctors and nurses to be available for examination and treatment of COVID-19 patients if necessary.
These doctors and nurses will have to receive training in professional knowledge on treatment and control of infections, and ensure safety for medical staff as well as patients.
Last year, the Cu Chi COVID-19 Treatment Hospital and Can Gio COVID-19 Treatment Hospital were the two main health facilities isolating and treating COVID-19 patients and suspected cases. This was done to help reduce pressure and risk of transmission at city hospitals.
The hospitals' doctors and nurses came from other hospitals in the city and worked on a rotation system.
The department has also instructed the 115 Emergency Centre to continue carrying out its task of transporting COVID-19 patients to designated hospitals for treatment.
Hospitals have helped the city Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) to take samples for testing at Tan Son Nhat airport, and bus and railway stations.
Besides the Pasteur Institute and the CDC, tests are conducted by the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Children's Hospital 1, City Children's Hospital, and Pham Ngoc Thach, Nguyen Tri Phuong, District 2, Thu Duc, FV, Gia An 115 and Hoan My Sai Gon hospitals, as well as several hospitals owned by the Ministry of Health and other agencies.
This year, more hospitals in the city will be assessed for their capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests.
The department has instructed hospitals to prepare medicine, chemicals and protective clothes as well as equipment for their medical staff when they are called for emergencies.
It has also required all hospitals and health facilities to review and assess safety criteria in COVID-19 prevention and control. They have been ordered to ask their patients to fill out online health declarations.
Since February 5, when online health declarations began at hospitals and health centers in the city, 127 private and public healthcare facilities have used the department's health declaration application.
By March 8, all hospital and health center in the city will have to use the application.
According to the department, hospitals should offer training courses for their doctors and nurses in screening, isolating and taking samples for tests, and treatment guidelines related to COVID-19 issued by the Ministry of Health.
Hospitals have also been instructed to take samples for testing all of their staff by March 10.
Following the Ministry of Health's requirement, the department is collaborating with Cho Ray Hospital to set up an expert team specializing in COVID-19 treatment to assist other hospitals that admit severely ill COVID-19 patients who need emergency treatment.
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