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    《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC issues new guidelines on triaging patients

    
People wait in the line at a newly opened drive-through COVID-19 test venue in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters

    People wait in the line at a newly opened drive-through COVID-19 test venue in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters

    2022/05/05 03:00

    By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

    The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced new guidelines for triaging COVID-19 patients, including conditions for admitting elderly people, pregnant women and infants to a hospital.

    Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the criteria for triaging COVID-19 patients and placing them under isolation or hospitalization have been slightly revised, but all moderate and severe cases would still be hospitalized.

    The criteria for hospital admission for asymptomatic or mild cases have been revised, raising the age from 75 years or older, to 80 years or older, and including women who are more than 36 weeks pregnant, he said.

    The criteria for infants remain the same — those younger than three months who have a fever and those aged three to 12 months who have a high fever (more than 39°C), he said, adding that other conditions doctors deem necessary for hospitalization would be considered.

    As for people aged 70 to 79, people aged 65 to 69 who live alone, women within their 35th week of pregnancy, or people who do not need to be hospitalized nor meet the criteria for isolating at home, Chen said they would be admitted to an enhanced centralized quarantine facility or disease prevention hotel.

    He said people aged 69 or younger, including children, who meet the criteria for isolation at home, would be subject to isolated at-home care.

    Moreover, local health departments can arrange for asymptomatic or mild cases who are on hemodialysis to isolate at home, but they should designate a specific dialysis center or hospital for them to receive treatment, he said.

    The general principle is that asymptomatic or mild cases should not be hospitalized for more than five days, he said.

    If a doctor determines that the patient no longer needs hospital care, or if the patient meets the criteria for release from isolation, the hospital can arrange for them to be discharged, he said, adding that they can be asked to return home to complete isolation after five days.

    “As COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing, it is impossible for us to provide unlimited hospital beds or to build hospitals now, so distinguishing mild and severe cases is very important to preserve healthcare capacity,” Chen said, calling on hospitals to cooperate with the triage guidelines.

    Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, on Tuesday said that based on reports by local governments, only about 30 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients meet the triage guidelines.

    Lo yesterday added that allowing too many asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients to stay in hospital for prolonged periods would have a negative impact on preserving capacity for moderate to severe cases, so the CECC is urging doctors to assess the conditions of hospitalized COVID-19 patients after five days.

    As of yesterday morning, the vacancy rate of hospital beds at designated COVID-19 wards and negative pressure isolation wards is 56.3 percent, or 4,827 beds, while the vacancy rates of beds at centralized quarantine facilities and enhanced disease prevention hotels are 35.8 percent and 36 percent respectively.

    As for Taipei and New Taipei City, where more than half of the daily local cases have been reported, Lo said the vacancy rate of hospital beds at designated COVID-19 wards and negative pressure isolation wards was 38.6 percent, or 624 beds, in Taipei, and 44.5 percent, or 762 beds, in New Taipei City.

    新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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