《TAIPEI TIMES》 Physicians praise CECC’s measures
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Physicians have praised the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC）, saying that its careful screening led to the detection of the first death from COVID-19 in Taiwan.
The center on Sunday announced that the nation’s 19th confirmed case and the first death was a 61-year-old Taiwanese who tested positive for COVID-19 after he had been hospitalized for suspected serious flu complications, including pneumonia.
The man began coughing on Jan. 27 and was hospitalized with difficulty breathing on Feb. 3, but he was not reported as a suspected case at the time because he had not traveled overseas.
He died of pneumonia and sepsis on Saturday.
The test for COVID-19 was reported as positive on Saturday. The center had expanded its screening measures on Wednesday to include tracing cases of serious flu complications with pneumonia that had tested negative for flu since Jan. 31.
Among 113 such cases, the man’s was the only one to test positive for COVID-19.
The man’s 51-year-old brother also tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the nation’s 20th confirmed case. He has not experienced symptoms.
“God bless Taiwan,” Tsai Hsien-lung （蔡賢龍）, an attending physician at Cheng Hsin General Hospital’s department of emergency medicine, wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
“Although shocked [at the result], I am moved by how the 19th case was found by tracing and exhaustive screening,” Tsai wrote.
“The 20th case was also found through the careful procedure,” he wrote.
“Thank God someone launched the screening procedure and tested the additional cases,” he wrote.
Tan Che-kim （陳志金）, a physician at Chi Mei Foundation Medical Center, wrote on Facebook that the 19th case was found because the center took the initiative to expand its screening measures, which Tan said was a job well done.
As there is the possibility of local transmission, people should take protective measures, such as avoiding unnecessary visits to crowded places and hospitals, washing their hands frequently and paying attention to the center’s advice on when to wear a mask, the CECC said.
Former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lin Ching-yi （林靜儀）, an obstetrician and gynecologist, praised the center on Facebook.
“It is really impressive how the CECC traced cases and tested for COVID-19 in scenarios that did not match the criteria for mandatory report at the time of diagnosis,” Lin wrote. “The infected patients and people who had close contact with them would not have been found if it had not acted.”
“I truly believe the performance of Taiwan’s CECC so far must be the best in the world,” she wrote.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥） said that the CECC noticed that Singapore and the US had expanded their testing to include more suspected cases, and one confirmed death in Japan did not have travel or exposure history.
Based on these observations, the CECC traced and screened the 113 cases, Chuang said.