CORONAVIRUS/Two new cases confirmed in New Taipei preschool cluster; total at 29
Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) Two new COVID-19 cases linked to a preschool and an apartment complex in New Taipei were reported Sunday, bringing the number of infections in the cluster to 29, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The two new patients are the grandfather of a preschool student previously confirmed with COVID-19 and a coworker of the student's mother, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said in a conference call with reporters.
The patients, who were both in quarantine when they tested positive, live in New Taipei and Taoyuan, respectively, and their low CT levels indicated they were infected recently, Chuang said.
The first two cases reported in the cluster -- a preschool teacher and her husband -- were confirmed on Sept. 5. Prior to Sunday, nine students at the preschool, 11 of their family members, three people who live in the same apartment complex as one of the students, a construction worker, who had worked briefly at the complex, and his wife had tested positive.
The preschool and the apartment complex are located in Banqiao District, New Taipei.
Genome sequencing results show that at least 20 of the patients in the cluster were infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus, but the source of the cluster remains unclear, according to the CECC.
A total of 3,418 people listed as contacts of the patients have been tested, with 3,155 returning negative results, 24 testing positive, and 239 awaiting results, Chuang said.
Besides the two cases linked to the Banqiao cluster, a third domestic case was reported Sunday.
The patient works at a restaurant in Taipei's Zhongshan District and lives in Wanhua District, which was a COVID-19 hotspot when the surge in domestic cases started in mid-May, according to the city's Department of Health.
Her test results indicate that she likely contracted the disease a long time ago, and health authorities are looking into the source of the infection, Chuang said.
Meanwhile, McDonald's has confirmed that the patient is an employee at its store on the corner of Linsen North Road and Jinzhou Street. The store will be closed for three days, and on-site dining will be suspended through Sept. 26, McDonald's said.
The 11 imported cases reported Sunday are eight Taiwanese and three foreign nationals, who arrived Friday from the United States, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Malaysia, according to the CECC.
Also on Sunday, Chuang confirmed that one of the domestic COVID-19 cases reported on Sept. 9 was an employee at a restaurant in the food court at National Taiwan University Cancer Center.
The case was picked up during routine testing of the cancer center's employees, Chuang said, adding that none of the employee's contacts have tested positive, so far.
The center's Vice Superintendent Wang Ming-jiuh (王明鉅) told CNA that all employees at the cancer center are required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 every week to ensure the safety of the patients.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 16,088 COVID-19 cases, of which 14,402 are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 cases in a single day.
With no new deaths reported Sunday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country remained at 839, with all but 12 recorded since May 15, CECC data showed.
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