City's COVID test results to be rechecked

2021-01-19 12:03:35

A medical worker collects a throat swab from a resident in Nangong county, Xingtai, Hebei province on Jan 17, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua] Governor of Hebei makes pledge after testing agency fails to report new patients The results of nucleic acid testing conducted by different agencies in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, will be rechecked to ensure that no one was left out and guarantee that the data was correct in the city, officials said on Monday. Hebei Governor Xu Qin made the pledge on Monday morning several hours after Xingtai, another hard-hit city in the province, reported three positive results that had been deliberately omitted by its testing agency. Jinan Huaxi Medical Testing Co, a company from Jinan in Shandong province, was appointed by Xingtai's Longyao county to test 314,987 of its residents during a second round of citywide testing last week. The company reported that all of its samples were negative on Thursday, when it hadn't actually completed the testing, according to a news conference on Sunday night in Xingtai. However, the government in Longyao later confirmed that the county had two COVID-19 patients and an asymptomatic carrier. Because of the three cases, a lockdown was introduced in the county and it started the third round of mass testing on Monday, with the results due to be released on Tuesday. The testing company's manager has been detained by police and a further investigation is underway. "The virus control work in Hebei has entered a key stage, and all related measures should be carried out to the letter," Xu said. The province identified 54 new locally confirmed COVID-19 cases and six asymptomatic carriers on Sunday, increasing its caseload of confirmed patients to 769 and asymptomatic carriers under medical observation to 182. The daily number of newly confirmed cases in Hebei fell for the second consecutive day, down from 72 on Saturday and 90 on Friday. An epidemiological survey is underway with experts from other areas including Beijing and Jiangsu province. Speaking in Shijiazhuang on Sunday, Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that tracking down the source of the outbreak would be tough. The province will continue to strengthen its tracking measures, and focus on analysis of key areas, cases and critical clues to trace the source. Hebei designated Xinle, a county-level city neighboring Gaocheng district in Shijiazhuang, and Nangong in Xingtai as high-risk areas on Monday night. As of Monday, there were four such areas in the country, with three in Hebei and one in Heilongjiang. While Hebei is working hard to contain the spread of the virus, provinces in northeastern China have also reported new cases. Jilin province reported 30 new locally transmitted confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 17 asymptomatic carriers on Sunday, according to the provincial health commission. The province has launched an investigation of health clubs that may be part of superspreading events, after more than 100 COVID-19 cases were traced to a 45-year-old salesman who tested positive on Saturday. Cluster infections The salesman, surnamed Lin, held four workshops in health clubs in Gongzhuling and Tonghua, Jilin, between Jan 8 and 11, resulting in cluster infections involving more than 100 people, many of them senior citizens. Gongzhuling started to carry out mass testing on Monday, and its residents were ordered to stay at home in self-quarantine. The recent local transmission in Jilin came after asymptomatic carriers returned from neighboring Heilongjiang province, which has seen infections climbing. As of Sunday, Heilongjiang had reported 145 confirmed cases and 243 asymptomatic carriers since Jan 10, when the first asymptomatic carrier of the current outbreak was reported in Suihua's Wangkui county, according to the provincial health commission. Han Junhong in Changchun contributed to the story.