The Korea Herald


Daegu reports another cluster infection from nursing hospital

By Yonhap

Published : March 18, 2020 - 11:44

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Another cluster transmission of the new coronavirus has infected more than 70 people at a nursing hospital in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the local outbreak, city government officials said Wednesday.

The Daegu Metropolitan City Government said a total of 75 people from the nursing hospital, including 57 patients and 18 medical staff, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. A nurse working at the hospital was the its first confirmed case on Monday.

The hospital -- which has 210 beds and 71 medical staff -- has admitted 117 patients, mostly elderly people suffering from dementia, the officials said.

The facility was immediately put into cohort isolation as part of the city government's latest efforts to isolate medical facilities that report cluster infections.

Cohort isolation is the separating of a group of patients with the same infectious disease from others. The method has been proven effective in preventing the further spread of disease within medical facilities.

While Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province saw signs of stabilization in the number of new virus infections, cases of community spread with unknown origins, mostly cluster and sporadic outbreaks, have been on a gradual rise.

"We are preparing for countermeasures," a city government official said, adding that the city government is looking into all of some 380 nursing hospitals and social welfare facilities in the city.

The city government said another 13 people from four other medical facilities tested positive for COVID-19, including seven people from a hospital in the northern part of Daegu and four from a nursing hospital in central Daegu.

The official said the city government has conducted an investigation into about one-third of such facilities in the city.

The country recorded daily new infections of the new coronavirus in the double digits for the fourth straight day, bringing the nation's total infections to 8,413, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The pace of daily new infections has slowed markedly as the KCDC completed extensive testing of 210,000 followers of the Shincheonji religious sect at the center of the rapid spread.

Still, the authorities are still on high alert over new clusters of infections, including at a call center in Seoul's Guro district and a new case linked to a church in Seongnam. (Yonhap)