Seven new cases of COVID-19, including one domestic case, were reported yesterday by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which added “diarrhea of unknown cause” to the criteria for reporting suspected cases.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the domestic case — the nation’s 352nd — is a man in his 40s who lives alone, did not travel abroad recently and began showing symptoms on Monday.
“The man sought treatment for a fever at a clinic on March 30, went to the same clinic again on April 1 for loss of taste and smell, and sought treatment again at a hospital the next day and was hospitalized and reported for testing,” Chen said.
Photo provided by the Central Epidemic Command Center via CNA
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman, said that the man lives alone and was mostly either at work or at home, and he did not go to work on Tuesday.
So far, nine people who have had direct contact with him have been listed for investigation, Chuang said.
The nine people are seven coworkers and two friends, he said, adding that surveillance footage from his workplace has been obtained to help identify people he had close contact with, while the local health department is investigating whether he had contact with people who recently returned to Taiwan from overseas.
The six imported cases are four women and two men who returned from Germany, South America, Switzerland, the UK and the US from March 15 to Thursday, Chen said.
Case No. 350 is a man who was on a business trip to the US from March 12 to 18, Chen said, adding that as he returned on the same flight as a married couple who were previously confirmed to have COVID-19 — cases 197 and 202 — and was considered to have been in close contact, he was ordered into home isolation.
The man reported mild diarrhea on Monday and mild chest tightness on Tuesday, and he sought treatment after ending his 14-day quarantine on Wednesday, Chen said.
As some people have recently tested positive after seeking medical attention of their own volition, Chen said that the CECC is considering reviewing symptoms people might have experienced during home isolation or quarantine before isolation orders are lifted.
Some quarantined people might experience mild symptoms, such as diarrhea or abnormal taste and smell during the 14-day period, but neglect to report them, so asking them to review their symptoms might help reduce the risk of transmission, he said.
Case No. 355, a woman in her 60s, went on a group tour to five countries in South America from Feb. 20 to Wednesday last week, with two previously confirmed cases — Nos. 259 and 331, he said.
She was listed as a close contact and was tested for COVID-19, although she did not report symptoms, he said.
The total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan rose to 355 — 304 imported and 51 domestic — including five deaths and 50 people discharged from hospitals, the CECC said.
The others are still hospitalized, including 12 people in a serious condition and on ventilators, it said.
As more infected people have reported diarrhea, Chuang said that the CECC decided at a specialist panel meeting yesterday to include diarrhea of unknown cause as part of the definition for reporting suspected cases.
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