TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (Jan. 14) announced that 522 contacts of the doctor and nurse diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus have tested negative, but it is planning to test up to 400 more contacts as an extra precaution.
On Thursday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said there has been "fortune out of misfortune" because the 522 contacts of the doctor and nurse diagnosed with the coronavirus this week have all tested negative. Those included 468 contacts in the hospital and 55 in the community.
The 468 hospital contacts tested included 41 doctors, 185 nurses, 40 administrative staff members, and 202 patients. Of these, the center deemed that 77 should undergo a second round of testing, which also yielded negative results.
The 55 community contacts included 43 — 39 students and four teachers — from the university where the nurse attended continuing education classes. Thus far, the only person to test positive among the community contacts is the nurse herself.
To be extra cautious, the CECC had originally planned to test all 1,200 employees of the hospital. After the hospital presented a comprehensive testing plan to the command center, a meeting was held between district officials, members of the expert team, and CDC department heads to discuss the proposal.
Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the CECC's expert advisory group, said Thursday that experts at the meeting believed that because the outbreak investigation had been very thorough and testing had been comprehensive, it would not be necessary to test all the hospital's employees. However, Chang said that in order to put the staff at ease and address public concerns, testing would be expanded to an additional 300-400 personnel.
The rest of the staff will be asked to begin self-health monitoring. If any report symptoms, they will be tested.
Chen said that the additional testing is expected to start on Friday (Jan. 15) and will take two days. He emphasized that surveillance camera footage shows Case No. 838 had been wearing a mask correctly at all times while in the hospital.