The number of COVID-19 patients in severe and critical condition dropped below 100 on Friday in central China's Hubei Province, which was hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The health commission of Hubei said Saturday that among the 320 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, 51 were still in severe condition and 44 others in critical condition. Twenty-eight COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospital after recovery on Friday.
No new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province on Friday, but three new deaths were registered, including two in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the former epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The commission said Hubei had 673 asymptomatic patients under medical observation by Friday, after 19 cases were ruled out while 17 new patients were reported.
Medical experts said the treatment of the severe and critical cases remained difficult.
"Most of the severe patients (in Wuhan hospitals) have turned negative in nucleic acid testing, so the anti-virus treatment is no longer needed," said Yuan Yufeng, vice president of Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital that mainly treats severely ill patients.
"Their main problems include severe organ damage caused by the disease, thus requiring advanced life support, and pre-existing health problems such as cerebral infarction, coronary disease and diabetes, which keep them in hospitals. Many of them are elderly patients and their treatment remains difficult," he said.
"The reason such patients are placed in the four largest hospitals in Wuhan is that the Chinese government hopes the hospitals' medical prowess can help save their lives," Yuan said.
Hubei has so far reported 67,803 confirmed COVID-19 cases in total, including 50,008 in Wuhan.
The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 81,953 by Friday, including 1,089 patients who were still being treated, 77,525 people who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,339 people who died of the disease.
Editor: Crystal H