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As Cases Drop, Saigon Announces Roadmap to Phase out Covid-19 Field Hospitals

Hospital beds were once a scarcity that became filled as soon as they were set up, but the number of cases in southern COVID-19 hot spots has plummeted to the point that many field hospitals are no longer needed.

On October 8, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health presented to the municipal people’s committee a roadmap, spanning October to December, on the gradual discontinuation of field hospitals, reports Tuoi Tre.

During the peak of the current outbreak in Saigon from July until September, 16 field hospitals were set up in the city to treat COVID-19 patients, amounting to approximately 37,000 beds. The facilities were converted from existing infrastructure like university dormitories, resettlement apartments, and even shopping malls, and are staffed with health professionals from across the country.

According to the roadmap, in each of the coming months, the health department will close a number of field hospitals and revert the buildings to their original purpose. The top priority will be those based in dormitories so colleges can prepare to welcome students back next semester.

Field Hospital No. 3, 6 and 8 — all converted from empty apartments in Thu Thiem — will be the last to be dismantled in December, as they were equipped with advanced oxygen reservoirs and ICU beds. Hospital No. 5, which is based at Thuan Kieu Plaza in District 5, will remain due its central location.

Including both municipal- and district-level facilities, Saigon currently has 95 clinics and hospitals treating COVID-19, 10 of which are dedicated ICU departments for moderate and severe patients. Staff delegations from Bach Mai Hospital (Hanoi), Vietnam-Germany Hospital (Hanoi) and Hue Central Hospital (Hue) are running three ICU departments, which will be taken over by local general hospitals after their northern and central colleagues return home.

These are the results of dwindling coronavirus cases from the end of September until now, when daily discharges have continually exceeded admissions.

Across the southwest region, the hardest-hit part of the nation, a similar trend is ongoing. As of October 11, the Binh Duong Department of Health reported that 209,000 of 222,082 patients have been discharged. There are over 67,000 beds dedicated to COVID-19 in the province, more than 51,000 of which are empty, according to the department.

In Dong Nai, all three levels of COVID-19 triage — asymptomatic, mild, and moderate to severe — are now recording around 50% occupation, according to Bao Dong Nai.

[Photo: Inside the Field Hospital No. 10 for mild COVID-19 cases/Ministry of Health]