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5 hospitals in Taiwan report internal COVID infections

CECC claims that hospital cases are 'inside firewall," risk to community is low

Medical workers transporting patient on stretcher outside Far Eastern Memorial Hospital.

Medical workers transporting patient on stretcher outside Far Eastern Memorial Hospital. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (May 20) announced nosocomial (in-hospital) COVID-19 infections in two more hospitals in Taiwan, bringing the total to five, but it stressed that the cases are "inside the firewall" and the risk of spreading the infection to the community was low.

Over the past few days, nosocomial infections have been announced at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in New Taipei, the Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, and a hemodialysis center in Taipei. At a press conference on Thursday, Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC's medical response unit, announced that two additional patients at the Taipei City Hospital Heping Branch tested positive for COVID-19.

Lo said that they stayed in the same ward as two previously confirmed cases who had a history of activities in Wanhua District. In response, the hospital has increased the number of persons to be tested to 800.

Three employees in the hospital were also diagnosed with the disease that day. However, they work in a different ward and had recently been to Wanhua; for that reason, officials believe they were not infected in the hospital.

In addition, the CECC announced that three Tri-Service General Hospital Songshan Branch (Taipei) staff members, who were listed as a contact of a previously reported infection at the hospital (case No. 1,352), also tested positive for the virus. They believe that the three cases indeed contracted the virus from case No. 1,352, thus constituting a nosocomial infection.

A sixth hospital to possibly experience a nosocomial infection is National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) in Taipei, where 10 people have tested positive for the disease, including one engineering office employee. Three of the cases had a history of activities in Wanhua, while the employee works in a lower-level basement and does not interact with patients.

Officials are still investigating the source of the 10 infections and whether they came from in or outside the hospital.

In all of the hospitals mentioned, Lo emphasized that all the contacts of known cases have been quarantined and are being tested for the coronavirus. "The confirmed cases are still inside the firewall and pose little risk to the community," said Lo.