CORONAVIRUS/Another contact of COVID-19-infected doctor tests positive
Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) Taiwan reported a new domestically transmitted case of COVID-19 on Sunday involving a doctor who works in the same hospital as three other medical workers confirmed to have the disease over the past week, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The newly confirmed case, a doctor in his 30s, tested negative for COVID-19 on Jan. 11, when two of his colleagues were confirmed with the disease, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.
When a third colleague -- another nurse -- tested positive on Saturday, he was tested again along with 265 other employees at the same hospital, and his result came back positive on Sunday, Chen said.
Of the 265, another 224 have tested negative, while the tests of the remaining 40 are being processed, Chen said.
This is the fourth case related to the hospital, which Chen continues to refuse to identify publicly other than to say it is in northern Taiwan.
The first case in the hospital cluster was a doctor who helps treat COVID-19 patients. He tested positive on Jan. 11, and his case was announced the next day.
Chen has said this doctor was likely infected while treating a severe case of COVID-19, a Taiwanese man in his 60s who returned from the United States at the end of December.
The doctor later infected his live-in partner, who is a nurse at the same hospital. Another nurse, who had contact with the doctor at work, tested positive on Saturday, according to the CECC.
The doctor who was first infected helped the doctor who was confirmed with the disease on Sunday treat a patient on Jan. 10. During their interaction, which lasted less than 10 minutes, both were wearing masks, Chen said.
The CECC has conducted several rounds of tests on the contacts of the four medical workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.
For the first doctor and nurse infected, the CECC first tested 468 people they had contact with at the hospital. All results came back negative, although two tested positive later on.
Another 452 hospital workers who had potential brief contact with the two cases have also tested negative, according to the CECC.
A total of 86 people the two cases had contact with outside of work have tested negative as well, and the CECC is now testing 76 others that used the same classroom the first infected nurse had been to.
For the second infected nurse, the CECC has tested three family members she lives with, and they all tested negative. The result of another person the family lives with is being processed.
A total of 54 patients and their caregivers the nurse interacted with at the hospital will also be tested.
Seven employees at a clinic the nurse visited a day prior to being confirmed with COVID-19 have tested negative for the disease, and the CECC said it is still tracking down the patients who were there at the same time.
As for contacts of the newly infected doctor, the CECC said contact-tracing is still ongoing.
Patients who were cared for by the infected medical personnel have all been transferred into single rooms, Chen said on Sunday.
Experts will help analyze and improve the hospital's disease prevention measures, and the CECC is considering re-evaluating the definition of "close contacts" of COVID-19 cases, Chen said.
Besides the locally-transmitted case, Taiwan also reported three new imported cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 855, CECC data shows.
The three imported cases involved Indonesian migrant workers in their 20s who came to Taiwan to work as fishermen, the CECC said.
All of them had negative test results issued within three days of their flights to Taiwan, but tested positive for COVID-19 just before or after completing their 14-day mandatory quarantine period in recent days.
To date, Taiwan has recorded 855 cases of COVID-19, with 756 classified as imported. Of the total, 755 have recovered, seven have died and 93 are in hospital, CECC data shows.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 94.4 million people in 193 countries and regions, with more than 2 million fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Sunday.
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