Hundreds of Shanghai’s top medical experts have joined in the treatment of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms to curb the growing death rate among local infections, which has reached 87.

More than 360 experienced medical experts specializing in severe disease symptoms, along with experts from outside Shanghai, have rushed to the eight city-level COVID-19 designated hospitals, where most patients in serious condition are being treated.

The experts in nine teams focus on patients’ severe underlying diseases, which have become the main cause of the city’s COVID-19 deaths, said Wang Xingpeng, director of the Shanghai Shenkang Hospital Development Center.

Shanghai reported 39 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday. Among all 87 fatalities are 48 males and 39 females with an average age of 81 years. The oldest was 101.

All of them had severe underlying health conditions, such as advanced tumor, heart disease, brain infarction, liver cirrhosis, diabetes and uremia. Only five were vaccinated.

“People in advanced ages are the group most vulnerable to the coronavirus due to low immunity and weak physical condition,” said Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission.

He said the city will try to reduce the death rate among COVID-19 cases by early intervention of experts, use of traditional Chinese medicine and a push for vaccination among the eligible seniors.

Among Shanghai’s COVID-19 patients, 160 have severe symptoms and 19 are in critical conditions. Nearly a third of the COVID-19 patients in local designated hospitals are over 70, according to Wang.

Among them, over 60 percent suffer from one or several underlying diseases, so only a small group have been vaccinated, he added.

Another 53 medical experts in 15 specialties are hosting daily online consultations to make and adjust customized treatment plans for patients in severe conditions.

Shanghai will continue its antigen and nucleic acid testing as daily infection numbers remain at a high level, according to the commission.

Resurgences have been detected mainly at gatherings at construction sites and companies, making the number of daily infections fluctuate at a high level, said Zhao.

However, the number of community transmissions has been gradually cut, because most of the new cases were found in locked-down and controlled areas, as well as central quarantine sites.

“We hope residents can understand and support (the measures) to consolidate the fruits from the initial stage of the city’s battle against the pandemic and achieve zero community transmission soon,” Zhao said.

Construction sites and firms are required to enhance health monitoring and screening among workers and staff, while conducting environmental disinfection and self-protection, he added.

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