CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan reports 511 new COVID-19 cases; Miaoli cluster grows
Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taiwan on Saturday reported 511 new cases of COVID-19, one of its highest totals in over a week, driven by a cluster of infections at an electronics company in Miaoli County, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The 511 cases on Saturday were all domestically transmitted and consisted of 476 new cases and 35 from a backlog of test results confirmed over the past few days, the CECC said.
New Taipei and Taipei cities once again accounted for the majority of the cases, reporting totals of 229 and 114 respectively.
Miaoli County reported 66 new cases, of which 56 had been linked to a cluster infection involving migrant workers at an electronics company, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press briefing.
Chen estimated that the testing of contacts in the cluster would be completed later in the day, adding that around 1,000 people had yet to be tested as of Friday night.
In other parts of Taiwan, Taoyuan reported 16 cases, Keelung reported 14 and Changhua had 11. Taichung confirmed nine cases, while Hsinchu County reported seven and Pingtung had four.
Nantou, Kaohsiung and Chiayi each reported three cases, while Hsinchu City, Yunlin and Tainan each reported one, the CECC said.
Of the 138 cases outside of Taipei and New Taipei, 121 had a known source of infection, while 16 had unclear links to other cases and one was under investigation.
Meanwhile, Chen announced that starting Monday, the CECC will stop retroactively adding cases to the case totals for previous days, as it has done with over 2,500 cases since May 22.
The backlog which led to this practice has largely been resolved, Chen said, noting that only 35 such cases were announced Saturday.
The new cases bring the total in Taiwan to 10,956, of which over 9,500 have been domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded over 100 cases in a single day.
Meanwhile, the CECC also reported a record high 37 deaths -- revised down from the initially reported figure of 38 -- on Saturday, raising the total to 224 since the outbreak began, and 212 since May 15.
The newly reported fatalities were 25 men and 12 women, aged in their 30s to their 90s, who died between May 23 and June 2, the CECC said.
Since last week, the overall death rate for confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan has risen from just over 1 percent to 2 percent, Chen said, showing that the country needs to be focused on how it is allocating its medical resources.
The average age of Taiwan's COVID-19 fatalities was 72 years old, and the average time from the onset of symptoms to death was 8.3 days, said CECC official Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞).
Some 89.1 percent of the people who have died were aged 60 or above, while 81.7 percent of them suffered from chronic health issues, Lo said.
According to Lo, one reason for the rising death rate could be that many of those infected since mid-May have been older people. Prior to that time, most of Taiwan's COVID-19 cases were imported, and tended to be younger in age.
The Centers for Disease Control discussed the issue Saturday morning, at which experts put forth a number of recommendations, such as increasing the distribution of portable oxygen tanks, asking patients to lie prone to improve their lung function, and prescribing drug thinners, Lo said.
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