TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's first doctor to test positive for the Wuhan coronavirus appears to have contracted the disease from a confirmed case he was treating, possibly during an intubation procedure.
On Tuesday (Jan. 12), Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that Case No. 838 is a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan. The doctor's diagnosis marks the first time since the start of the outbreak that a physician has been infected by a patient in Taiwan.
The CECC believes that the most likely source of infection was a confirmed coronavirus patient, who he had been treating for about two or three days before he started noticing himself beginning to experience symptoms of the virus. All 464 other persons that the doctor came in contact with at the hospital have tested negative for COVID-19.
The doctor recently participated in an intubation procedure for a critically ill patient. When asked by the media if he had been infected during the procedure, CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that the intubation was performed by an anesthesiologist while the doctor assisted from the side of the patient.
Chang emphasized that all the medical personnel wore a full set of protective equipment. He said that the procedure is safe as long as established procedures are properly followed.
He declined to speculate as to whether the infection occurred during the intubation procedure.
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