An outbreak of COVID-19 recently hit hospitals in northeast China, state media reported Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
April 22 (UPI) -- A Chinese COVID-19 patient was misdiagnosed and declined for testing in northeast China, causing an outbreak in what could be a second wave of novel coronavirus infections in the country.
The patient, identified by his surname Chen and described as an elderly man with pre-existing conditions in Heilongjiang Province, visited more than one hospital before obtaining a correct diagnosis and treatment, Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.
China's central government has claimed the pandemic that began in Wuhan is under control. The country has reported less than 83,000 cases and fewer than 5,000 deaths. Beijing has not disclosed the total number of COVID-19 tests the country has conducted since the outbreak began in December.
As Chen sought medical help in early April, he left behind a trail of infections at two hospitals in the city of Harbin. Neighbors may have infected Chen during a group meal. One of the neighbors, a family that included a student who reportedly repatriated from the United States, may have spread the virus in the community, according to Xinhua.
Chen experienced headaches on April 2 and was transferred to Harbin No. 2 Hospital, where a physician said the patient was suffering from a stroke. Chen was moved to the larger Harbin No. 1 Hospital. Before he was confirmed for the coronavirus, Chen shared a ward with eight other patients who did not have COVID-19. Chen was not confirmed for the virus until April 10, the report says.
Xinhua reported Chen arrived at Hospital No. 2 with a fever, but the hospital declined to test him for COVID-19. At Hospital No. 1, doctors examined Chen without wearing protective gear and diagnosed him with hypostatic pneumonia.
Ke Yunnan, deputy head of the Harbin Health Commission, told state network CCTV the unprotected health workers treating Chen interacted with people in a corridor near the nurses' room at Hospital No. 1. Eight people have been infected at Hospital No. 2, 216 people have been placed in quarantine and an additional 189 people were ordered to go into self-isolation, according to reports.
A total of 18 Harbin city and hospital officials are being held responsible for the outbreak.