Visiting patients with chronic illnesses at hospitals can be allowed under certain conditions, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported one locally transmitted COVID-19 infection and 10 imported cases.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman, said as a local COVID-19 outbreak is steadily coming under control, the CECC on Sunday informed local governments to notify healthcare facilities that they could conditionally reopen chronic disease wards to visitors.
Visits to patients in intensive care units, hospice and palliative care divisions, respiratory care wards, psychiatric divisions, pediatric wards and those with a mental impairment or in a critical condition had previously been allowed.
Visitors to chronic disease wards must not have COVID-19-related symptoms, should not have had direct contact with a COVID-19 patient or visited public spaces where COVID-19 patients were during their contagious period, must wear a mask during the visit and practice good hand hygiene, Chuang said.
There is to be one designated visiting period per day and no more than two people are allowed to visit a patient at the same time, he said.
All visitors must present a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test from within the past three days, he added.
Visitors are exempted from taking the tests under two conditions: if they have been fully vaccinated and received the last dose more than 14 days earlier, or if they have been released from isolation after being infected within three months of the onset of symptoms, Chuang said.
The local case of COVID-19 is a woman in her 40s who lives in New Taipei City and is a teacher at a preschool in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), Chuang said.
The woman tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital on Saturday when seeking medical attention for other reasons. The test had a high cycle threshold value of 34.9, he said.
Serological antibody testing also showed a negative IgM antibody and positive IgG antibody result, and was positive for antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2, Chuang said, adding that the case is likely a previous infection.
The woman took another PCR test yesterday, which was negative, he said.
The local health department has identified 98 close contacts of the woman and placed 67 of them in isolation, one under self-health management and 30 under self-health monitoring, he added.
The 67 contacts in isolation are the woman’s students and their parents, and they would all be tested for COVID-19, Chuang said.
The 10 imported cases arrived in Taiwan from Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and the US, he said.
Meanwhile, first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and second doses of the AstraZeneca and the Moderna vaccine are expected to be offered in the 12th round of vaccination, in which appointments can be made from Monday to Wednesday next week for inoculations from Friday next week to Oct. 31, Chuang said.
In the 12th round, all age groups are likely to be eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while those eligible for a second dose of the Moderna vaccine are likely to be people who received a first dose on or before July 16, he said.
The confirmed details of the 12th round of vaccinations would be announced soon, he added.
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