Restrooms Believed to Be Infection Source at Tasty 西堤群聚續延燒 醫研判感染源可能在廁所

Taiwan saw 17 new domestic COVID-19 cases on Jan. 17, including 14 from the Tasty steakhouse cluster infection, and a Far Eastern Hospital nurse. Experts say if the nurse was not infected at the hospital, it would mean there is an invisible transmission chain in the community and more cases are expected.

Taiwan's epidemic situation continues to worsen, with 17 new domestic cases announced on Jan. 17. Fourteen were from the Tasty steakhouse cluster infection. A junior high school student got infected despite being in a different class than an infected person. Some doctors believe the restrooms were the source of infection. Foreign studies have shown that after an infected person uses a restroom, the area around the toilet will be contaminated with the virus.

Huang Hsuan, Thoracic Intensivist: “You have to wear your mask properly and make sure it's on properly from the time you lower your pants until the time you pull them back up. The second thing is to close the toilet lid. The third is to use soap when washing your hands.”

Some experts were more concerned about the infection of a nurse at Far Eastern Hospital. She got infected even though she didn't take care of COVID-19 patients. If she wasn't infected in the hospital, it would mean that there is an invisible transmission chain in the community, and more cases can be expected.

Huang Li-min, Honorary Chair, Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan: “This is not the only case where the infection source is unknown. There must be some invisible transmission chains that are gradually extending through communities. This is the greatest worry right now.”

The 1922 COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Reservation Platform began accepting reservations for boosters in the 20th round of vaccination at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18. The times when reservations could be made were staggered depending on age. Many senior citizens unfamiliar with the Internet sought the help of borough chiefs to make reservations.

Taipei Resident: “I can never get a reservation when I try on my own. I'm old, and not very adept. That's why I asked my borough chief for help.”

Experts remind the public that the Omicron variant is more contagious than the Delta variant, and urge people to become fully vaccinated before the Lunar New Year and avoid large gatherings during the holiday. Those who develop symptoms or come into contact with infected persons should get tested as early as possible.