A testing site has been set up in front of the Xizhi District Office, with a testing capacity of 600 people a day.
This community testing site isn't even open yet, but a long line of people has already formed. This PCR testing site is located in the plaza in front of the Xizhi District Office in New Taipei City, and is operated by Tri-Service General Hospital.
Wang Chih-hung, Superintendent, Tri-Service General Hospital: “Our plan calls for two lines. Each line will be able to conduct 150 tests in the morning and 150 tests in the afternoon. In other words, the daily testing capacity is 600, and reservations are required.”
Tri-Service General Hospital is the latest medical facility to respond to the surge in demand for testing. Medical personnel at grassroots clinics are also offering their support. The Taiwan Medical Association issued a call for members in Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung, and Taoyuan to help out at New Taipei City's various testing sites inside communities and at hospitals so that hospitals will be able to maintain their medical treatment capacity.
Chiu Tai-yuan, President, Taiwan Medical Association: “We believe that the capacity at hospitals right now is stretched to the limit. If they get any more patients, they might not be able to treat them. We never want to see this happen.”
Yen Hung-shun, President, New Taipei City Medical Association: “Sometimes colleagues might develop symptoms, but may still go to work in discomfort because they don't want to increase the burden on other colleagues in caring for the public.”
The worsening epidemic situation has overwhelmed medical personnel, and reducing the number of moderate to severe cases and the mortality rate is a big challenge. Some experts say what is needed is triaging asymptomatic or mild cases.
Chen Hsiu-hsi, Professor, College of Public Health, NTU: “If this disease can become like the flu, then it won't need to be in Category 5 and we can regard it using the spirit of Category 1. This will allow our medical treatment capacity to recover quickly.”
Experts say the responsibility for testing should be gradually shifted from medical institutions to people. Precise rapid tests will give people the ability to monitor their own health and allow medical personnel to focus on treating moderate and severe cases and high-risk groups, which in turn will allow the medical treatment capacity to return to normal.