Health experts at National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday urged schools to open windows in classrooms, pull desks wider apart, and lower the definition of a fever to a body temperature higher than 37.4°C when schools start next week, to better prevent COVID-19 infection.
NTU College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said that disease prevention in schools should be divided into two stages, with the first being the “containment” stage, which includes postponing the start of school and quarantining suspected cases to delay the possibility of COVID-19 spreading locally.
The second stage is the “mitigation” stage, meaning lessening the seriousness of the epidemic by practicing enhanced infection control measures on campuses after school starts or suspending classes if an outbreak occurs.
As schools up to and including senior high begin the new semester on Tuesday next week, two weeks later than originally planned, the NTU College of Public Health yesterday gave suggestions on how to improve disease prevention measures on campus.
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene associate professor Chen Jia-kun said that good ventilation in classrooms is an important preventive measure, so schools should avoid using classrooms with no windows, as many air-conditioners only circulate indoor air.
“Under good natural ventilation, the air exchange rate [the rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air within a room] is about 60 seconds,” he said. “Classroom windows should be open for at least one to three minutes for every 20 minutes of class, even in cold weather.”
Increasing the distance between individuals during social interaction helps prevent virus transmission, Chan said, adding that he suggests pulling students’ desks at least 1.8m apart, avoiding sports with physical contact and making students take recess in turns to avoid crowded playgrounds.
Schools should disinfect desk surfaces, doorknobs, windows and keyboards more frequently; keep lids on trash cans; and ask students and faculty to avoid eating with their hands; and wash their hands with soap often, he said.
“Students and faculty should also be responsible ... by not going to school when they feel ill and wearing a mask when seeking medical attention,” Chan said, adding that faculty should be highly cautious and take preventive measures other than measuring their temperature.
Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine director Su Ta-chen (蘇大成) said that the standard for detecting a fever should be modified to a body temperature of 37.5°C or higher.
If a person has had their temperature taken twice, at least five minutes apart, and it is 37.5°C or more on both occasions, they should be observed for respiratory symptoms, wear a mask when seeking medical attention and stay home to rest, he said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center has suggested that the Ministry of Education use a fever standard of 37.5°C or higher when measuring with a forehead thermometer and 38°C or higher when measuring with an ear thermometer.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin