CORONAVIRUS/Taoyuan General Hospital reopens, COVID-19 ward upgrade planned

02/19/2021 04:02 PM
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CNA photo Feb. 19, 2021
CNA photo Feb. 19, 2021

Taoyuan, Feb. 19 (CNA) Taoyuan General Hospital, the location of a recent cluster of 21 COVID-19 cases, partially reopened Friday, more than a month after the first case was confirmed.

"We were attacked by the virus, but we managed to contain it together," said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) during a ceremony held at the hospital. "We succeeded, the central and local governments achieved this together."

A doctor who treated a COVID-19 patient at the hospital and a nurse -- the doctor's live-in partner -- was confirmed as infected on Jan. 12, followed by 19 more people, including medical staff, patients, their family members, as well as a caregiver subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus.

The growing number of cases linked to the hospital led to a mass evacuation of patients, which began on Jan. 19, so it could be disinfected.

One of the 21 cases, the mother-in-law of an infected nurse at the hospital, died on Jan. 29, becoming the ninth fatality since Taiwan reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 21, 2020.

Data from the CECC
Data from the CECC

Meanwhile, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), a deputy head of the Centers for Decease Control and an official at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) set up to handle the COVID-19 outbreak, said the hospital is running at reduced capacity for both outpatient and inpatient services and also accepting emergency admissions.

A review will be carried out to assess if the hospital can increase capacity after March 1, Lo added.

The hospital's original COVID-19 ward is set to be upgraded to become an intensive care unit used to treat COVID-19 patients in serious condition, Lo said.

According to Chen, who also heads the CECC, Hsu Yuan-nian (徐永年), superintendent of the Taoyuan hospital under health ministry supervision, will decide whether the hospital takes in new COVID-19 patients.

Over the past year, the hospital in Taoyuan received new COVID-19 cases almost every day and on one occasion more than 30 in a single day, according to Hsu's earlier statement.

CNA photo Feb. 19, 2021
CNA photo Feb. 19, 2021

On Friday, Taiwan reported one imported COVID-19 case, bringing the number of total cases confirmed in the country to 941.

Of the total, 888 have recovered, nine died, while 44 remain hospitalized, according to the CECC.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Yeh Chen and Kay Liu)

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