Shanghai reported eight new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total since the pandemic resurgence in March to 25.

The average age of the fatalities was 77.5 years, all of whom had severe underlying ailments, such as advanced cancer, severe heart disease, hypertension, brain infarction and uremia. Two had been vaccinated.

Among Shanghai’s COVID-19 patients, 139 have severe symptoms and 20 are in critical condition, according to Wu Qianyu, a senior official with the Shanghai Health Commission.

She noted that positive cases with underlying diseases have a high risk of developing severe symptoms, especially for seniors.

She asked local designated hospitals to boost monitoring and early warnings as well as intervene earlier to prevent those with mild symptoms from getting worse.

The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Shanghai has declined for four consecutive days. It reported 2,634 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, including 459 that were previously asymptomatic, and 15,861 local asymptomatic infections on Wednesday.

The number of new cases is about 30 percent lower than that during the peak period in mid-April.

Also, a total of 20,297 COVID-19 patients were discharged from local designated and makeshift hospitals on Wednesday after making full recovery.

Chen Yue, president of Shanghai Longhua Hospital, said a specialized traditional Chinese medicine online outpatient service has opened for the rehabilitation of recovered COVID-19 patients.

Some mature TCM recipes can enhance people’s immunity and prevent COVID-19 effectively, which can help curb the spread of the virus, Chen noted.

The declining trend of the resurgence is evident in two suburban districts — Chongming and Jinshan — each of which achieved the dynamic zero-COVID goal on Wednesday.

Around 90 percent of Chongming Island residents live in precautionary areas that are still under strict prevention and control measures, according to Zhang Zhitong, deputy director of Chongming.

“We will firmly prevent the precautionary areas from becoming ‘free zones,’” Zhang said.

Daily supplies and medicines continue to be distributed to residents to prevent gathering and movement, the official added.

Meanwhile, Shanghai has designated four local hospitals to receive pregnant or lying-in women who test positive for COVID-19, Wu told the press conference.

They are the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center in Jinshan, Huashan Hospital’s northern branch in suburban Baoshan District, Renji Hospital’s southern branch in Minhang District and Pudong Hospital.

More than 60 obstetric doctors and nurses from the city’s top maternity hospitals, such as Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital and International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital of the China Welfare Institute, have been assigned to be based at the designated hospitals, she announced.

Pregnant or lying-in women may note that outpatient and emergency departments have been operating normally at local maternity hospitals. Ambulances will answer the calls of pregnant women on a priority basis, Wu pointed out.

These hospitals have been asked to set up buffer zones along with quarantine wards and delivery rooms for those in emergency condition but lacking negative nucleic acid test reports.

The COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction testing and treatment must be conducted simultaneously.

If patients test positive, quick quarantine, screening and disinfection measures should be launched to restore normal operation in time, Wu suggested.

She said such measures should also be implemented at other local hospitals to ensure medical treatment for patients amid the pandemic.

Buffer zones should be set up in operation theaters, emergency rooms and wards. Patients in the buffer zone can be transferred to normal wards after testing negative for COVID-19.

The emergency department, fever clinic, hemodialysis room, intensive care unit, as well as the obstetrics and neonatology departments must operate normally in such hospitals, Wu added.

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