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HK logs 3.3k COVID-19 cases

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,362 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 493 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,869 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 118 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and one for disabled people logged nine cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 33 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for 13 patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 20 patients was unrelated.   It also registered six more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 99.   As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Kowloon City districts, the respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning

Virus testing backlog reported

The Hospital Authority said it was notified by a COVID-19 test service vendor that some of the test procedures were lengthened due to environmental contamination and subsequent thorough disinfection required in the laboratory.   The authority explained that some of the tests and notification of negative results cannot be completed within 48 hours as the contract terms required.   The test service vendor was contracted by the authority to arrange COVID-19 testing to tie in with the Centre for Health Protection's Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme.   The authority has reported the incident to the Food & Health Bureau and the Department of Health (DH). Starting from today, some of the backlog specimens will be arranged for testing in the DH’s Public Health Laboratory Centre and at three other vendors.   According to the vendor’s report, it has completed the test for all specimens received on or before March 2 and most of March 3. It is expected that the tests for the rest of March 3 and March 4, around 20,000 specimens, will be completed today.   The Public Health Laboratory Centre and the three vendors will continue to render assistance and it is expected that the tests for the rest of specimens will be completed in the coming days.   The authority has tasked the vendor to review its testing procedures and enhance contingency. It said it will seriously follow up the incident with the vendor in accordance with the contract terms to avoid the occurrence of similar incidents.
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