CORONAVIRUS/New Taipei COVID-19 Delta cluster grows to 33 cases
Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) Taiwan on Thursday confirmed two new domestic COVID-19 cases, one of which was linked to a cluster in New Taipei's Banqiao District, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The cluster in Banqiao, which has reported 33 cases to date, is centered around a preschool and an apartment complex. Those infected include a teacher at the preschool, several students, their relatives, three neighbors of one of the students, and a colleague of one of the relatives.
At least 21 of the patients have been confirmed as infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus, though the source of the cluster remains unknown.
The newly reported case linked to the cluster is a woman in her 70s. Although she is listed as the administrator of the preschool, she is not involved in day-to-day operations, New Taipei's Department of Health said.
As one of her family members works at the preschool, she was listed as a "contact of a close contact of a COVID-19 case" and instructed to quarantine for seven days as a precaution, during which time she tested negative twice, the department said.
Two days after finishing quarantine, the woman was tested again as she had developed a sore throat and the result came back positive on Thursday.
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the woman did not leave her home after finishing quarantine, as she is physically challenged, and her family members have all tested negative for the disease.
The CECC will re-evaluate how it defines "contacts of a close contact," Chen said.
Contacts of COVID-19 patients are typically required to quarantine for 14 days. In order to guard against the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, however, the CECC has required some people listed as a "contact of a close contact" in the Banqiao cluster to also quarantine.
The quarantine period for this group is generally five days, though it is adjusted on a case-by-case basis depending on the extent of the contact, the New Taipei Department of Health said.
The other new domestic case reported Thursday is a New Taipei resident in her 80s. She tested positive after visiting a hospital for health issues unrelated to COVID-19, the department said.
However, her test results indicate she contracted the disease a long time ago, and her contacts have all tested negative so far, the department said.
Taiwan also reported 10 new imported cases on Thursday, six of whom are breakthrough infections, meaning that they came down with the disease at least 14 days after receiving one or two of the vaccine shots needed to be fully vaccinated, according to the CECC.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed a total of 16,115 COVID-19 cases, of which 14,409 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 for the sixth consecutive day, 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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