BMH is Hanoi’s largest national tertiary general hospital, with nearly 3,000 inpatient beds and an average of 5,000 outpatients per day. The hospital has 34 clinical centers, institutes, and departments and 6 paraclinical departments, with >6,000 healthcare workers and nonclinical staff. Three affiliated national institutes are under BMH management: National Heart Institute (NHI), National Institute of Mental Health, and National Institute of Medical Expertise. The first branch of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (NHTD) is also located inside the BMH area, but has been a freestanding hospital since 2006. The NHTD has a second branch that was the designated hospital for COVID-19 patients in northern Vietnam, located in a suburban area of Hanoi. BMH has its own infectious disease facility, the Center for Tropical Diseases (CTD), separate from NHTD (Figure 1).

Hospital floor plan and timeline of lockdowns during outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections at Bach Mai Hospital complex in Hanoi, Vietnam. A) Hospital floor plan. B) Details of departmental or institution lockdowns. COVID-19, 2019 coronavirus disease; HCW, healthcare worker.

In early January 2020, BMH established 2 dedicated COVID-19 screening triage clinics for suspected cases. These clinics were located in separate areas from other departments of the hospital: the first was next to the main gate, and the second was set up near the CTD (Figure 1). Healthcare workers from the CTD operated both clinics, 1 doctor and 2 nurses working per shift. All patients were required to be screened at the clinics before they received any other services. Clinic staff performed general clinical examinations, gathered epidemiologic data, and classified whether each patient had a suspected case using general criteria issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH), including having >1 suspicious symptom (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and having a history of traveling through epidemic areas or having close contact with a patient with confirmed COVID-19 during the preceding 14 days. Before March 12, nasopharyngeal swab specimens from the suspected cases were transferred to the NIHE for SARS-CoV-2 confirmation. Beginning March 13, the specimens were processed and confirmed at BMH itself. Patients with suspected cases were transferred immediately, in dedicated vehicles, to the second branch of NHTD, even if test results had not yet been received.

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