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2 patients in Taoyuan COVID-19 cluster on respirators: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

02/02/2021 06:14 PM

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Two of the 19 patients in a COVID-19 cluster linked to Taoyuan General Hospital are in intensive care units and on respirators, a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said Tuesday.

The two are the only ones in the cluster so far to develop a severe case of the disease, while four others have pneumonia, CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said at a press briefing in Taipei.

The rest of the patients all have mild cases of COVID-19, and some will be able to be discharged soon, Chang said.

As of Tuesday, 19 people linked to the hospital in Taoyuan have been confirmed with COVID-19 -- two doctors, four nurses, one migrant caregiver, six relatives of two of the nurses, two hospital patients, three relatives of the two patients, and a contact of one of the patients.

Since the first case in the cluster was announced on Jan. 12, a total of 4,765 people have been required to quarantine, including 440 who have already finished quarantine, according to the CECC.

To ensure no cases go undetected at the hospital, CECC officials said Monday that they will further expand COVID-19 testing to include all employees and contract workers.

There will be some exceptions, however, such as medical workers who were recently tested and employees on leave from the hospital, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said on Tuesday.

This leaves 2,088 of the 2,663 people who work at the hospital (including 2,310 hospital employees and 353 contract workers) who will be tested for COVID-19 over the next three days, said Chen.

Although CECC officials have previously said that everyone employed at the hospital will also receive antibody testing, Chen said Tuesday this is still being discussed.

Also on Tuesday, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that over the past three months it has taken 408 samples from the packaging of 104 food products imported into Taiwan to test for COVID-19, and none of the results came back positive.

The products included beef, pork, chicken and seafood imported from 10 countries, namely, the United States, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, Chile, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Norway and the Philippines, the FDA said.

The FDA's statement cited the World Health Organization as saying there is no evidence so far that COVID-19 can spread through food, and there have been no cases of people being infected by food or food packaging.

As there have still been recent media reports of food products testing positive for COVID-19, the FDA said it will continue to look into this information and expand testing to more products if and when necessary.

(By Chen Wei-ting, Chang Ming-hsuan and Chiang Yi-ching)

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