Local COVID-19 cases are expected to continue rising in the upcoming week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a record-high 85,310 new domestic cases and 41 deaths.
Daily case numbers had remained in the 60,000s for the past six days before surging about 30 percent yesterday, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted on Tuesday also marked a record-high of 112,915, with a positivity rate of 66.7 percent.
Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Social Welfare Department via CNA
As many large testing stations have been set up in northern Taiwan in the past couple of days, while cases in central and southern Taiwan are also increasing, daily case numbers are expected to peak in the upcoming week, he said, urging people to take precautions.
The CECC also reported 153 new moderate cases and 30 new severe cases yesterday, and the condition of 11 previously reported moderate cases worsened to become severe cases, Chen said.
Of the 41 deaths reported, 40 had underlying health conditions and one is a two-year-old in Keelung, whose condition has been widely reported by local media, Lo said.
The boy did not have any chronic illness, but had acute encephalitis and multiple organ failure after he was infected with COVID-19, Lo said.
Twenty of the deaths were elderly people aged 80 or older, Lo said, adding that 20 cases (48.7 percent) were unvaccinated, and 28 cases (68.2 percent) did not receive a booster dose of vaccine.
Asked why infected newborns younger than three months who have a fever should be hospitalized under the revised COVID-19 triaging criteria issued on Tuesday, Lo said that newborns have an immature immune system, so when they develop a fever, they could turn into emergency cases that need pediatric care.
A fever in newborns can be a sign of sepsis and would need immediate attention, he said, adding that the criteria were set after discussions with medical societies.
Asked about media reports that some infected healthcare workers have been asked to take care of infected patients, Lo said that between April 1 and Tuesday, a total of 240 infected healthcare workers had been asked to return to work early before their scheduled release from isolation.
They included eight people in three healthcare facilities, mostly at specialized departments, such as the pediatric respiratory care ward; and 232 people in 35 long-term care facilities, mostly long-term care providers, he said.
Infected healthcare workers can only be asked to return to work early with their consent, and they must be either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, he said, adding that their return must be approved by the head of the communicable disease control medical network in their region.
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