TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Sunday (May 23) that 270 COVID-19 cases have been categorized as severe, with 66 on ventilators.
At a press conference, CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said 2,795 cases had been reported in Taiwan between May 15 and May 23. Of these, 270, or 9.7 percent, have severe pneumonia or are close to respiratory failure, with 66 requiring ventilators. Among those patients aged 60 and over, 18 percent are seriously ill.
Chang pointed out that previously, when most of Taiwan's cases were imported, they were mainly young students or middle-aged Taiwanese businessmen. However, since community transmission has taken hold, 37 percent of local cases are 60 or older and often have chronic diseases or underlying conditions, making severe symptoms more common than in the past, Chang said.
Since the start of the pandemic in Taiwan in 2020, there have been 3,158 total local cases, of which 6.2 percent have been diagnosed with severe pneumonia and 2.6 have been close to respiratory failure.
Three of the 66 currently on ventilators have required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). One has already been taken off ECMO.
Of the six COVID deaths announced Sunday, Chang said these cases had ranged in age from 50 to 80 and that five had a history of chronic diseases.
The only one among the six who had died without a chronic ailment was a man in his 80s, Chang said. The man began to experience shortness of breath on May 17, sought medical treatment that same day, and died on May 20.