5,000 people to be isolated amid new hospital cluster cases in northern Taiwan

5,000 told to enter isolation after 2 new COVID-19 cases tied to Taoyuan General Hospital

People waiting in line to be tested for coronavirus in front of Taoyuan General Hospital. 

People waiting in line to be tested for coronavirus in front of Taoyuan General Hospital.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following two new coronavirus cases associated with a hospital cluster in northern Taiwan on Sunday (Jan. 24), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced that more than 5,000 more people must enter home isolation to prevent further spread of the disease.

On Sunday, the CECC announced that a man in his 60s (case No. 889) who had received treatment unrelated to the virus at Taoyuan General Hospital from Jan. 8-11 had contracted COVID-19. In addition, a family member who had been caring for him also tested positive for the virus that same day, bringing the total number of cases associated with the hospital cluster infection to 15.

The latest case had visited floor 12A, which up until Sunday CECC officials had considered a relatively low-risk "green zone." However, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that in light of the new infections, the floor's status has been changed to "red zone," as has the entire hospital.

This means that all wards will be treated as high-risk. Chen said all patients discharged from the hospital between Jan. 6-19, along with people living with them and related contacts, will be identified and told to enter 14-day home isolation immediately, followed by seven days of self-health monitoring and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Chen stated that there are three categories of people who visited the hospital between Jan. 6-19 that must undergo home isolation:

  1. Discharged patients and people living with them
  2. Caregivers of hospitalized patients and people living with them
  3. People who were exposed to case No. 889 when he sought medical treatment.

It is estimated that more than 5,000 people will fall into one of these three categories. Starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, the health department began notifying all of those who are to enter home isolation.

Members of the public who believe they should enter home isolation but have not received a notification may call 1922 or 0800-001922 for assistance.

Updated : 2021-03-04 08:42 GMT+08:00