CORONAVIRUS/Majority of COVID cases in preschool cluster are Delta variant: CECC

Eight more people in a cluster of COVID-19 cases in New Taipei were confirmed Saturday to be infected with the Delta variant of the virus, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The number of cases in the cluster linked to a preschool and an apartment complex in Banqiao District remained at 27, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) said at the daily press briefing of the CECC, which he heads.

CECC official Lo Yi-chun (???), who was also at the briefing, said 20 of the 27 patients in the cluster have now been confirmed to be infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Determined by genome sequencing, the eight new Delta cases confirmed Saturday included a woman and her husband, who was doing construction work at the apartment complex in August, Lo said. The couple tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The other six Delta cases were one resident at the apartment complex and several family members of the preschool children, Lo said.

Meanwhile, the CECC has not yet been able to determine the variant in the only case in the preschool cluster classified as imported, Lo said.

The patient, the father of one of the preschool students, returned to Taiwan from his home country on Aug. 4 and tested negative for COVID-19 twice before the end of his 14-day quarantine, but on Sept. 8, a third test came back positive, after his wife and child were confirmed to have contracted the disease, according to the CECC.

Lo said that when the man tested positive, the cycle threshold (CT) level in his case was high, indicating that he had contracted COVID-19 a while ago and also making it difficult to determine the variant with which he was infected.

Of the 2,984 contacts identified in the preschool cluster, 22 have tested positive so far, 2,001 have tested negative, and 961 are still awaiting results, according to the CECC.

Meanwhile, a junior high school student in Taipei's Songshan District who was confirmed with COVID-19 on Friday was determined to have the Alpha variant of the virus, Lo said.

Based on the student's CT levels and the results of his antibody tests, it appeared that he had contracted the disease a while ago, Lo said.

The student's medical records showed that he began experiencing chest pains in August, but he was not tested for COVID-19 until Sept. 9, after his symptoms worsened, Lo said.

Health authorities are still trying to determine the source of that infection, Lo said, adding the other three members of the student's household have tested negative for the disease, so far.

Concerning the five new imported cases on Saturday, Chen said three of them were Taiwanese nationals who recently returned from Vietnam and Japan, while the other two were citizens of South Africa and Vietnam, respectively.

The five new cases brought the total in Taiwan to 16,074, of which 14,399 were domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases in a single day.

According to the CECC, no new deaths from the disease were recorded Saturday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel