The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced the nation’s 42nd confirmed case of COVID-19, a woman in her 50s related to a patient who had been in the same hospital ward as an earlier case.
The new case is associated with the nation’s 34th case — a woman in her 50s who was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus after being hospitalized for about two weeks — as they had both been in the same hospital ward, but not the same room, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
The 42nd case is a relative of a patient in another room who had not recently traveled overseas, he said, adding that she sought treatment at a clinic for coughing and full-body fatigue on Feb. 23.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
After an extended contact investigation for the 34th case, which included people who were in the same hospital ward when she was hospitalized, the 42nd case was reported as a suspected infection and tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, he said.
The cluster of coronavirus cases linked to the 34th case has expanded to seven people: her daughter and granddaughter, three nurses and a janitor at the hospital, and the 42nd case.
All patients in the hospital ward have been moved to isolation wards, and the section has been temporarily closed and disinfected, Chen said.
Asked about a debate over whether the personal information and activities of confirmed patients should be made public, Chen said: “We will disclose the information if it helps the nation’s disease-prevention efforts.”
If the center can contact all the people who have had contact with confirmed patients, the personal information of the patients would not be publicized, he said.
“I have been struggling daily with this question of whether such information should be publicized,” Chen said.
He said he is worried that if such information is released, people would only avoid areas that have been visited by confirmed patients and neglect the more important task of taking personal preventive and protective measures.
Chen added that he is even more worried that it would affect people’s willingness to tell the truth if they are associated with confirmed patients, which would negatively affect the center’s contact investigations.
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