Community fever clinics aid in virus screening
Small-scale fever clinics have been put into operation this month in community health centers across Shanghai to help detect suspected COVID-19 cases at earlier stages and improve local infectious disease monitoring.
A total of 182 such fever alertness clinics were added to the original 117 front-line fever clinics at key hospitals in the city earlier this month.
Early detection is essential to prevent the spread of the virus and deliver successful treatment, according to experts.
Data shows that about 80 percent of confirmed cases in Shanghai were first discovered at fever clinics.
According to the Shanghai Health Commission, the operation of fever clinics has been among the city’s central strategies since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The new detection units will transfer suspected patients seamlessly to nearby medical institutions, which can reduce the risks of infection within communities.
At Yinhang Community Health Center, located in Yangpu District, a mini fever clinic has been in use since April 1.
Several rooms not far away from the entrance of the center were divided into four sections: a patient area, a quarantine area, a sanitary area and a par-sanitary area.
According to guidelines from the health commission, these mini fever clinics should be equipped with their own air-conditioning system and separated from other clinic areas.
After temperature checks at the clinic's entrance, fevered patients will be guided to the patient area to avoid contact with others, and medics will make a preliminary diagnosis based on epidemiological investigations and routine blood tests.
Common fever patients will then be transferred to different departments at the center for further treatment.
If a patient is a suspected virus-carrier, they will be transferred to nearby hospitals for further examination, with all potential means of transmission being cut during the process.
“Our center has kept the infectious disease and enteric departments throughout the years, which made it easier for us to set up the fever unit for detection,” said Cui Ming, director of the Yinhang Community Health Center.
“In the long term, we hope the unit can maintain its sifting function, not only for the coronavirus, but also for infectious diseases in general,” said Cui.
The Yinhang sub-district has a registered population of over 180,000, while the Health Center receives over 4,000 patients daily, 44 percent of whom are over 63 years old.
At Siping Community Health Center, another main community medical resource in Yangpu District, fever patients will also be guided through a special passageway leading to a mini fever clinic with three sections.
Apart from preliminary diagnoses, nurses here will also check up on confirmed fever patients to ensure their recovering status.
The clinic receives about two fever patients every day.
“The new fever clinic here aims to relieve the burden on bigger hospitals and detect latent cases more efficiently. We don’t receive many patients currently, but this is a crucial step to barring the infection,” said Hua Yankun from the administration office of the center.