CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan reports 19 new COVID-19 cases, new hospital cluster identified
Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday reported 19 new cases of COVID-19, including four in a newly-identified cluster at a New Taipei hospital, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Of the 19 cases, 16 were domestic infections and three infections were contracted overseas, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the CECC press briefing.
Ten of the domestic cases were reported in New Taipei, four were reported in Taipei and two came in Chiayi County, Chen said, adding that the higher number of cases in New Taipei was due to a newly identified COVID-19 cluster in the city.
According to the New Taipei government, the cluster is at a small hospital in Banqiao District that mainly treats patients who rely on ventilators long-term.
A patient at the hospital tested positive on Sunday, and as of Tuesday, the city has identified nine more cases linked to the hospital.
Four of the nine cases -- all of whom are migrant caregivers who work at the hospital -- were included in the CECC's case count on Tuesday, while the remaining five cases, involving patients at the hospital, will be included in Wednesday's case count, the city said.
A total of 86 people linked to the cluster have been required to go into quarantine, and the city is testing all employees, patients and relatives of patients who had been to the hospital.
The hospital has stopped accepting new inpatients and suspended outpatient services on Tuesday, according to the city government.
The two new COVID-19 cases in Chiayi, meanwhile, are relatives of an employee at an aluminum factory at the center of a different COVID-19 cluster, Chen said.
The first case at the factory was identified on July 28, and with the two new cases Tuesday, the cluster has grown to 13 infections, consisting of nine factory employees and four of their family members.
The source of the cluster is suspected to be an employee at the factory who lived in Taipei's Wanhua District, a COVID-19 hotspot, until mid-July, before beginning to work at the factory on July 18.
Based on recent test results, Chen said that the cluster appears "stable."
The 96 contacts of these patients have all tested negative, and rapid testing stations set up in Chiayi County in the past few days yielded only three positive results out of 1,604 people tested. The three people went on to test negative in subsequent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, Chen said.
According to the CECC, the three imported cases reported Tuesday were a Philippine national and two Taiwanese nationals who recently traveled to Taiwan from the Philippines, Malaysia and Russia.
The two deaths were a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s, who passed away on July 31 and July 28, respectively.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 15,721 COVID-19 cases, of which 14,230 are domestically transmitted infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country has risen to 791, with all but 12 recorded since May 15, CECC data showed.
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