Taipei, Jan. 26 (CNA) During the weekend cold spell, 45 people were sent to hospital emergency wards for complications resulting from low temperatures, three of whom died, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Tuesday.
In a press release issued that day, the ministry quoted Emergency Medical Services (EMS) statistics as reporting that when the cold snap hit Taiwan Jan. 23-24, a total of 45 patients were rushed to hospitals for below-35 degrees Celsius hypothermia, including 17 in Taipei, six in northern Taiwan, five in central Taiwan, seven in southern Taiwan, eight in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, and two in eastern Taiwan.
Of the total, a 54-year-old woman in Taipei, a 93-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung area died, according to the release.
It further cited its own tallies to report that neither the total number of hospitalizations nor the number of patients of cardiovascular diseases registered a conspicuous increase from the corresponding days of a week earlier.
The release contrasted a Jan. 24 report by CNA that quoted local fires departments as saying the cold spell had taken at least 85 lives in Taiwan as of Sunday evening.
By Sunday, temperatures had dropped to record lows across the country, with Anbu on Yangmingshan in northern Taiwan registering a low of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius and 4 degrees Celsius in Taipei.
The CNA report quoted city and county fire departments as saying that most of the deaths were probably caused by hypothermia or cardiac disease as a result of the sudden drop in temperature.
For instance, the Taoyuan City Fire Department said Sunday that during the previous two days, 28 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) deaths in the city were believed to have been caused by the cold front. OHCA is also known as dead-on-arrival.
In Kaohsiung, 16 people were rushed to hospitals since Jan. 22, all of whom showed no signs of life upon arrival, officials of the city's Fire Bureau said Sunday.
The 16 deaths were mostly caused by the onset of cardiovascular diseases as the mercury dipped suddenly, the officials said, noting that the victims were aged between 65 and 93.
(By S.C. Chang) ENDITEM/J