CORONAVIRUS/Kaohsiung suspends visits to care facilities due to COVID outbreak

01/23/2022 08:46 PM
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A testing site set up at the Port of Kaohsiung
A testing site set up at the Port of Kaohsiung

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Visits to long-term care facilities in Kaohsiung have been suspended in light of a current cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city, Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said Sunday.

Including 15 cases confirmed Sunday, Kaohsiung has recorded 43 domestic cases linked to Kaohsiung Harbor since Jan. 20. Health authorities have previously speculated that the cluster could have begun with a maintenance worker at the port who came into contact with people on board a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel, though this has yet to be confirmed.

Three of these cases have been confirmed as Omicron variant infections, though the genome differs from the version spreading in Taoyuan, the Central Epidemic Command Center has said.

Speaking at a press briefing, Chen said that due to the cluster, visits to long-term care facilities are now banned unless in emergency circumstances.

Under these circumstances, people who wish to visit care facilities must have received two COVID-19 vaccine doses and provide proof of a negative result from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of the visit, he said.

As for adult daycare centers that service seniors, Chen said that people who visit the centers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the centers will suspend meal services as well as events involving karaoke or cooking for the time being.

In response to concerns that there might be COVID-19 cases in the community that have not yet been detected, people who have upper respiratory tract infection symptoms can get a rapid test for free at ENT (ear, nose and throat), internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatric clinics in the city.

An average of 4,000-5,000 people in Kaohsiung go to the doctor for cold-like symptoms each day, and as the symptoms of an Omicron infection are similar to that of a cold, the city intends to monitor the situation for two weeks, Chen said.

Another measure being taken by the city is the weekly testing of high-risk personnel in hospitals, including those who work in emergency departments, intensive care units, and with COVID-19 patients, Chen said.

(By Tseng Yi-ning, Tsai Meng-yu, Chen Jie-ling, Yu Hsiao-han, and Chiang Yi-ching)


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