A multi-class COVID-19 field hospital in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City is completely full due to a surge in infections in the southern metropolis in recent days.
Every single bed at the hospital was filled as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper correspondents' observation.
At the same time, extra beds were set up along the corridor of Zone D, or the building for patients with mild symptoms.
Under the sweltering heat, the patient overload and the constant beeps of medical equipment made the atmosphere inside the hospital even more stressful.
Doctors, nurses, and volunteers had to strain themselves to take care of many patients, with many of them resorting to ice packs to cool their bodies before continuing their duties.
Dr. Ho Huu Duc, deputy director of the hospital, said that its buildings are divided into three classes.
The first class managed by Tan Binh District Medical Center is set up in Zone E, the second class under the management of Tan Binh District Hospital is in Zone D, and the third class supervised by Thong Nhat Hospital spans from Zone A to Zone C.
The hospital started receiving a large number of COVID-19 patients from many other facilities in the first week of November.
"This is the new peak," said Dr. Duc, adding that all the beds in the three patient classes have been full for the past two weeks, compared to the admission of only six to seven cases a day at the end of October.
Notably, the hospital had to add 50 extra folding beds to admit patients with mild symptoms.
The hospital currently has 70 doctors, 140 nurses, and 850 patients, according to Dr. Duc.
An crowding condition can be seen in the ward for severely ill patients, where only four doctors and seven nurses are taking care of 128 patients.
Unlike during the previous peak, all reinforcements that came to the aid of Ho Chi Minh City have returned to their units while centralized quarantine facilities have been returned to their original functions, thereby putting hospitals like the multi-class COVID-19 field hospital in Tan Binh District under high pressure when cases spike.
"I think this crowding just happens locally," said Dr. Duc.
"Therefore, the municipal Department of Health needs to regulate the admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospitals that still have capacity to ease the burden on other facilities."
Ho Chi Minh City has been the hardest-hit locality in Vietnam since the fourth wave began on April 27, with over 460,000 infections.
Local authorities had implemented various levels of social distancing since May 31 before loosening restrictions in October, as the majority of adults had been inoculated against the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday, health workers had administered over 14.1 million vaccine doses, with more than 6.2 million out of nine million citizens fully jabbed.
Cases are on the rise as the city has been logging about 1,000 to 1,600 new infections daily over the past days.
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