CECC reports 65,446 new Covid cases
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 65,446 new coronavirus cases, of which 65,385 were domestic infections and 61 were imported cases. New Taipei reported the highest number of domestic cases, at 23,788. That was followed by Taipei with 10,751, Taoyuan with 10,039, Taichung with 3,830, and Kaohsiung with 3,261 cases.
Health officials say 61 patients developed moderate symptoms and 18 had severe symptoms. Seventeen coronavirus-related deaths were reported, nine men and eight women in their 60s to 90s. They all tested positive between 29 April and 9 May and passed away between 5 and 10 May. Fifteen of them had underlying medical conditions. That brings the death toll here in Taiwan since the pandemic began to 968, 115 of which has been recorded so far this year.
On the back of the surge in cases, the CECC is urging people who test positive for the coronavirus after taking a rapid antigen test to make use of the different available options to book a virtual doctor's appointment.
The statement comes amid reports many people have been unable to schedule a doctor's appointment due to overcapacity on the health ministry-supported EU-CARE app. The EU-CARE app was initially developed to provide a 24-hour emergency platform that offers telemedicine services. However, because there are only few participating hospitals, remote outpatient services often reach full capacity very quickly.
The CECC says the National Health Insurance mobile app has over 10,000 partnering clinics and hospitals and can provide patients in home quarantine with a remote diagnosis of their symptoms. The centre also says individuals can contact their local health authorities to arrange an appointment.
In other Covid news, the CECC says from today friends or relatives of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, and who are eligible to receive oral antiviral medications will be allowed to attend medical consultations and collect medication on their behalf.
According to the centre’s medical response division, the new policy is aimed at giving high-risk patients another option for accessing oral antiviral drugs, aside from directly consulting with a doctor by teleconference or telephone.
Under the previous regulations, doctors could prescribe oral antiviral drugs such as Pfizer's Paxlovid or Merck's molnupiravir to people with mild or asymptomatic infections, if the patient is over the age of 64 or at risk of serious infection.
However, starting today, such patients will be able to schedule an appointment at one of the 124 hospital coronavirus outpatient clinics and have a friend or relative attend on their behalf.
Representative need to bring the patient's National Health Insurance card and proof of infection to the appointment. The CECC says it's also now allocating additional courses of molnupiravir to nursing homes and hospital dialysis departments.