Friends of Filipino maid with Covid-19 being sought

February 19, 2020 12:20
A Filipino domestic helper, 32, became the 61st confirmed case of Covid-19 in Hong Kong on Tuesday, after an initial negative result, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong health authorities are trying to trace the friends of a Filipino domestic helper who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in order to determine if they have symptoms of the disease.

The maid, 32, became the 61st confirmed case of Covid-19 in the city on Tuesday, after an initial negative result, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health.

There are now 62 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city, and two fatalities. 

The latest death was reported at Princess Margaret Hospital on Wednesday morning. He was a 70-year-old man who had underlying illnesses and lived alone at Shek Yi House of Shek Lei Estate, a public housing estate in Kwai Chung, RTHK reported.

The maid, who is living with her employer at Mount Parker Lodge in Quarry Bay, had been feverish and coughing since Feb. 2, although her symptoms subsided after self-medication without consulting a private doctor, the CHP said.

After her employer, a 67-year-old woman, became the 52nd confirmed patient on Feb. 13, the maid was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital for isolation and management on Feb. 14.

While her respiratory samples initially tested negative for the virus, she showed persistent clinical symptoms, prompting doctors, who also found some shadows on her chest X-rays, to examine her lungs with a computed tomography (CT) scan and further test her respiratory samples. The result came back positive on Tuesday.

The maid had no travel history during the incubation period and is now in a stable condition, according to a government press release.

She was the first patient in the city who tested negative initially but later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, HKEJ said.

The maid did not attend the family dinner of her employer in North Point on Jan. 26, leading doctors to believe that she could have been infected at home. Five others at the dinner have since been confirmed to have the virus.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news conference on Tuesday that the maid met with about 10 other helpers at the Hong Kong City Hall in Central on Feb. 9 for about an hour.

They were all wearing face masks at the time, but still, authorities were trying to trace her contacts to see whether they have symptoms, Chuang said.

The CHP on Tuesday also reported the 62nd confirmed Covid-19 case, a 58-year-old man living alone in Cambridge Building in Kwun Tong.

The man developed fever and chills from Feb. 11 and had coughs since Feb. 15. He consulted the same private doctor on Feb. 11 and 13.

The man then sought medical attention at the United Christian Hospital and was admitted on Monday. His respiratory sample tested positive for the virus.

The patient, who is now in stable condition, had traveled to Zhongshan in Guangdong province from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2, and to Macau on Feb. 5, according to the government press release.

In related news, a spokesperson for the Tuen Mun Hospital said an 83-year-old woman, who was admitted last Saturday for hip surgery, tested positive for the novel coronavirus initially.

Although the woman showed none of the symptoms that might be caused by the virus, including fever, she was put in an isolation ward after her daughter and son-in-law were found to have contracted the disease, the spokesperson said, adding that further tests would be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.

On Tuesday, two more Covid-19 patients (the 6th and 14th confirmed cases) were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number to four. The two will need to return for follow-up consultations two weeks after being discharged.

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