TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (Sept. 8) announced that a nurse has become its first case of a local breakthrough infection for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
A breakthrough infection is defined as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days after they have completed the full vaccine schedule. CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that a National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) anesthetist is the first Moderna breakthrough case.
Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) the same day announced that a cluster infection tied to a kindergarten in New Taipei had risen to 23 cases and that genomic sequencing of samples taken from infected patients have tested positive for the Delta variant. Chen confirmed that a nurse who works as an anesthetist at NTUH, case No. 16,158, lived in the same community as cases tied to the kindergarten cluster.
Chang said the woman had a cough, runny nose, and other symptoms on Aug. 26. She underwent a PCR test on Sept. 6, which resulted in a positive result for COVID-19 with a Ct value of 38. A second test taken the next day also came back positive, with a Ct value of 36.
Although the nurse's viral load was considered to be low given the high Ct value, there was still a danger of transmission given the weakened immune systems of the severely ill patients under her care. A total of 11 close contacts where she worked were identified, as well as 81 at-risk personnel, all of whom were tested for the virus.
The test results came back on Tuesday (Sept. 7) evening, with all 92 contacts found to be negative for the virus. However, Chang pointed out that because the case had visited other units on Tuesday afternoon, PCR testing was expanded to 1,100 people, with all testing negative for COVID-19.