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Global Times

Experts call for stricter protective measures after ICU nurse in Nanjing tests positive due to work exposure

Global Times

By Lu Yameng Published: Aug 12, 2021 01:20 PM

An ICU nurse in Nanjing Public Health Center, in East China's Jiangsu Province, has tested positive for coronavirus in a routine nucleic acid test, local health commission said during a press conference on Thursday.

The nurse, a male who's 32 years old, has been stationed in hospital since July 29 and strictly abode by the epidemic prevention and control measures, and went to no other places, said Ding Xiaoping, the deputy director of Nanjing's health commission.

The nurse tested positive for coronavirus in his sixth routine testing round on Wednesday and was confirmed to be infected on the same day.

"It is suspected that the nurse may have been infected in the process of helping critically ill patients," Ding said.

Ding also explained that occupational exposure means medical workers contacted the pathogen of the infectious disease in diagnosis, treatment, and nursing activity.

An expert said that medical staff at the front line is at high risk of infection.

"In the process of treating patients infected with coronavirus, any medical operation would have the risk of infection if there is virus exposure, so it's necessary for medical staff to wear isolation gown and protective equipment," said a Beijing-based immunologist who requested anonymity to the Global Times on Thursday.

The hospital acted immediately after finding the case, with screening of close contacts of the nurse still underway.

So far, the nucleic acid test results of the close contacts and related environment have all come out negative.

The expert noted that infection of a medical staffer in epidemic treatment centers may affect the treatment work of patients. "There may be a shortage of staff as other medical workers who came into contact with the nurse are quarantined," said the expert.

"The center may also be suspended or required to operate under stricter management for some time until the cause of infection is found and corresponding measures are put forward," the expert noted.

The expert also pointed out that long-term high-load work on the front line will certainly result in a lack of energy, which makes stricter epidemic control measures more necessary. In addition, there should be a shift in system for front-line workers so that they can have time to rest.

Jiangsu Province reported 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, one in Nanjing, 37 in Yangzhou.

As of Wednesday 12 pm, the province has reported 734 confirmed cases starting from July 20, 234 cases in Nanjing and 485 cases in Yangzhou.

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