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Homeland Security

Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan rises to 42

ROC Central News Agency

03/03/2020 05:19 PM

Taipei, March 3 (CNA) A woman in her 50s is the nation's 42nd COVID-19 patient and is believed to have contracted the virus while taking care of her husband in a northern Taiwan hospital where a cluster infection occurred, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

The latest patient, who has no recent overseas travel history, was taking care of her husband in the hospital from Feb. 17-24. She sought medical attention at a clinic on Feb. 23 after becoming fatigued and developing a cough, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

The hospital is the location of Taiwan's first hospital cluster where authorities believe cases 34 to 38, and 41 contracted the coronavirus, Chen said.

The woman's husband was on the same ward, though in a different room, as case 34. The husband, who has already been discharged from the hospital, has tested negative for the virus, according to the CECC.

Health authorities on March 1 decided to have the woman tested after she developed respiratory symptoms and was deemed a potential patient due to her contact with one confirmed case, a nurse who took care of case 34 and became infected, CECC said.

The woman has been hospitalized in an isolation room since March 1 and test results confirmed her as having the COVID-19 earlier Tuesday, according to CECC.

The 42nd case is the seventh confirmed case in the hospital cluster.

The other patients in the cluster are a female janitor at the hospital -- the 35th case -- three nurses, patients 36 to 38, and the daughter of case 34 (case 41), according to the CECC.

The CECC said 295 people who came into contact with case 34 have been identified, six tested positive for the virus, 206 tested negative, and the others are awaiting their results.

Chen said the health authorities are still trying to confirm the source of the hospital cluster.

The hospital has disinfected and temporarily closed the ward where case 34 was treated from Feb. 14 to Feb. 28 before being confirmed as infected with COVID-19. Patients who stayed in the ward with case 34 have been moved to isolation rooms, he added.

Meanwhile, the CECC said aside from one death, 12 of the total 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases have already fully recovered and left hospital.

As of Tuesday, over 89,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 3,000 deaths had been reported worldwide.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Joseph Yeh)

Enditem/AW



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