Free COVID-19 rapid test kits are to be provided to care facility staff and residents, in addition to homeless people and older people living alone, the Central Epidemic Command Center said yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the Executive Yuan on Friday decided to offer five free rapid test kits to each person in lower-income households, and three per person to care facilities.
The kits provided to care facilities are to be delivered to management to decide when and how the tests should be used, he said.
Photo: Chen Yen-ting, Taipei Times
The policy allows facilities to have test kits ready for use as needed so that medical attention and antiviral drugs can be sought quickly, he said, adding that such action could prevent cluster infections.
Chen said that facilities would be chosen according to the Long-term Care Services Act (長期照顧服務法), including community long-term care centers; senior and disability welfare facilities; child and youth placement agencies; nursing homes; residential care facilities for children, adolescents or people with disabilities; community care centers for people with disabilities; early intervention centers; and infant care centers.
The ministry is gathering lists of names from the facilities and the test kits would be delivered as soon as possible, he said.
The center on Friday said 26 percent of people who died from COVID-19 in the past six days were residents of long-term care facilities, and that as of Thursday 3,560 staff members and 8,912 residents of 919 long-term care facilities were reported as cases.
“We are offering homeless people and older people living alone a five-pack test kit,” Chen said, adding that they are to be delivered to local governments’ social welfare and civil affairs departments for distribution.
The center yesterday said that many older people living alone often have multiple chronic diseases, making them more susceptible to moderate or severe illnesses if they contract COVID-19, and that an estimated 810,000 homeless people and older people living alone are eligible for the test kits.
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