The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital shared the same virus strain, allaying concerns over the unidentified source of infection of case No. 889.
The center also reported two new imported cases, but no new domestic cases for the fourth straight day.
The cluster infection had affected 15 people, and it has been about two weeks since case No. 838, a doctor at the hospital, was confirmed to have been infected by case No. 812, a Taiwanese returning from the US, during treatment.
Photo: Chen En-hui, Taipei Times
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that case Nos. 868, 869, 885 and 889 shared the same strain as case Nos. 812, 838, 839, 852 and 856.
Except for case No. 856, whose viral strain could not be completely sequenced, the other four have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the D614G mutation, along with the point mutation L452R, the center said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) added that while case No. 889’s virus strain could not be fully sequenced, it largely has the same genetic makeup and mutations as other strains tested.
The center said it is looking into all patients who had contact with case No. 889 and that so far, 235 out of 236 health workers tested have returned negative results, adding that the remaining individual test result has not yet been delivered.
Case Nos. 889 and 890 were yesterday released from hospital.
While the nation has had four days without local infections, it is still too early to tell whether it has weathered the worst of the cluster infection, Chen said.
This week will be a critical observation period, and general screenings will be conducted for all hospital staff and those who had contact with the hospital after Thursday next week, Chen said.
Health workers who have completed home quarantine are to remain at home and do not have to return to work, as staff at the hospital should be able to handle the reduced workload, Lo said.
The CECC ruled out COVID-19 as the cause of death of an 18-year-old who died during home quarantine.
During her stay in an unnamed hospital, the girl’s bed was next to a patient who had been asked to undergo home quarantine due to the Taoyuan cluster infection.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC spokesman, said that the girl had a history of chronic diseases and had stopped breathing when she was found at home on Wednesday.
Additional reporting by CNA
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