WUHAN, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Clinically diagnosed cases, which have been treated as confirmed cases from Thursday, have driven the surge in the number of new confirmed cases in China's Hubei Province, center of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The inclusion of the cases, however, boosts the confidence of frontline medical workers in their battle against the epidemic.
Any suspected cases with pneumonia-related CT scan results are counted as clinically diagnosed cases, according to the latest version of the diagnosis and treatment scheme released by the National Health Commission.
The province reported 14,840 new confirmed cases including 13,332 clinically diagnosed cases on Wednesday, the highest daily increases so far, but the diagnosis criteria revision will give those who have been clinically diagnosed the timely standard treatment of confirmed cases to further improve their treatment success rate, said the provincial health commission.
Early diagnosis and early treatment are essential to contain the spread of infection, said Wu Jing, head nurse of Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, one of the major designated hospitals to receive patients infected with COVID-19.
"The revision adds more workload, but we are relieved to see fewer suspected patients not given timely treatment in hospitals," said Wu.
Some infected patients tested negative up to four times before the test showed positive results, which indicates the possibility of errors in nucleic acid tests, said Chen Erzhen who leads a Shanghai medical team to assist Hubei.
He added that the current supply of nucleic acid tests can barely meet the demand, so it is key to include the clinically diagnosed cases.
"The production standards of diagnostic kits vary from different producers and the differences might negatively affect the test results, Chen said, adding that manual errors during the intense amount of tests can also be minimized.
The diagnosis criteria revision ensures more complete data of the infected cases, which is especially important in Wuhan, the epidemic center, Chen said.
As one of the medical workers on the front line, the government's determination to publish the data, albeit a surge in confirmed cases, boosts our confidence, Chen added.
Hubei Province reported 2,420 new confirmed cases and 139 new deaths on Friday. The figure for new cases included 1,138 clinically diagnosed cases, while the new deaths also included 34 who were clinically diagnosed.
The number of daily new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection outside Hubei has been dropping for 10 consecutive days, from nearly 900 on Feb. 3 to below 300 on Feb. 13.