《TAIPEI TIMES》 Taipei adjusts quarantine measures to free up hospitals for those seriously ill
Medical staff operate a COVID-19 rapid screening station outside Taipei City Hospital’s Zhongxiao branch yesterday. Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
By Cheng Ming-hsiang and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19 in a rapid screening test would be the “new normal,” Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang （黃珊珊） said yesterday after the city adjusted its quarantine measures to free up medical facilities for COVID-19 patients with serious symptoms.
The Taipei Department of Health announced a new set of triage procedures for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 at a rapid screening station.
Effective immediately, anyone who is moderately to seriously ill, regardless of age, would be sent to a hospital in an ambulance, the department said.
People with minor symptoms, those who are older than 55, or younger than 55 with chronic diseases or difficulty quarantining at home would be sent to quarantine centers in designated buses or taxis, it said.
Asymptomatic people under 55 would be required to quarantine at home for 17 days and check in daily with their local health center, the department added.
The more than 1,000 people in quarantine hotels would be instructed to return home after 10 days to undergo another seven days of quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic or have not had a fever for more than one day, Huang said.
Quarantine hotels must accept patients with minor symptoms transferred to them by hospitals, as hospitals must focus on treating more serious cases, she added.
Starting yesterday, orders to quarantine at home apply to contacts of confirmed cases, asymptomatic people who have tested positive in a rapid screening and those who are asymptomatic after spending 10 days in a quarantine hotel, Huang said.
“People need to prepare themselves, as living near confirmed cases will be the new normal,” Huang added.
The city must first come to a halt so that sources of infection can be ascertained and chains of infection severed, Huang said.
The cases being announced now were infected more than two weeks ago, she said, adding that further observation is needed over the next two weeks to ascertain whether infections are trending downward.