CORONAVIRUS/Only few COVID patients should be hospitalized: Taipei mayor

05/19/2021 12:19 AM
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People wait outside a Taipei City Hospital branch near Wanhua District for a COVID-19 test. CNA photo May 15, 2021
People wait outside a Taipei City Hospital branch near Wanhua District for a COVID-19 test. CNA photo May 15, 2021

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Only about one in five COVID patients should be hospitalized because they suffer from more severe symptoms, while the rest can stay at quarantine sites as they recover, surgeon-turned Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Tuesday at a press briefing.

Medical resources should be kept to those who need them most, Ko said, as announcing new measures to better deal with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan.

According to Ko, for those confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus through rapid screening and PCR tests and do not need to be hospitalized or admitted to a negative pressure isolation ward immediately, there should be a shelter where they can be settled and observed by medical personnel.

With this in mind, Ko said he issued a directive that large hospitals across the city should either set up a section designated for COVID-19 treatment or allocate manpower to quarantine centers or quarantine hotels to help take care of people who test positive for the virus.

In the meantime, the city will organize a team comprising of ambulances, fire bureau buses and privately owned buses to transport infected people to places where they can be isolated and treated, Ko said.

However, he emphasized that hospitals will not turn away COVID-19 patients unless they lack the capacity to receive additional patients.

The new measures should help ease the current heavy caseload, Ko said.

Currently, those whose rapid tests come back positive are sent to a government quarantine center or quarantine hotel to wait for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results and carry out self-isolation.

To date, the city government has set up five testing stations in or near Wanhua District, where both rapid tests and PCR tests for COVID-19 are conducted from 8 a.m. until midnight on a daily basis.

Ko further instructed that doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that have been distributed by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to hospitals in Taipei no longer be provided to the public except for front-line medical workers, amid a shortage of vaccine in Taiwan.

Taipei City Hospital announced on Monday that all its branches would suspend vaccinations, a day after National Taiwan University Hospital did the same.

Taiwan confirmed 240 domestically transmitted cases on Tuesday, including 102 cases in Taipei and 106 cases in New Taipei.

The country has reported daily domestic infections of more than 100 since May 15, when the CECC raised the COVID-19 alert for both Taipei and New Taipei.

(By Chen Yi-hsuan and Teng Pei-ju)

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