(NEW YORK POST) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases soared by more than 5,000 in one day, officials in China said Friday — as they announced that more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected by the deadly bug.
Cases in mainland China rose to 63,851 by the end of Thursday — up 5,090 from the day before — as the death toll reached 1,380, up by 121, the country’s National Health Commission said.
The province is now including cases based on a physician’s diagnosis before they are officially confirmed by lab tests. Out of the 5,090 new cases, 3,095 were diagnosed in this manner.
Officials say they are hopeful the new method can help identify suspected cases so they can be treated more quickly — though it also reflects the surge of people seeking treatment and the growing backlog of untested samples in Hubei and its capital, Wuhan.
Meanwhile, National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin confirmed Friday that 1,716 of the country’s health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died.
“At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy,” Zeng told reporters at a news conference. “Their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high.”
More analysis still needs to be done to determine how many were infected in hospitals, according to Zeng.
The announcement comes as Chinese officials and hospitals have spoken out about a shortage of protective equipment, including face masks.