February 21, 2020

COVID-19: Cases in South Korea swell past 200 as local cluster grows

Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has reported an additional 100 cases in updates released today. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 204.

Of these 100 cases, 73 cases are identified in Daegu and Gyeongbuk province, and the remaining 27 cases are from other areas. Regardless of region, 85 cases are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, 1 case is linked to Cheongdo Daenam hospital and 14 cases are under investigation.

According to KCDC, those confirmed cases reported on February 20 and 21 are known to have worked or been hospitalized at the hospital’s psychiatric ward. Ninety-two hospitalized patients would be transferred to isolation hospital according the test results, and the hospital will stop receiving outpatient cases and new hospitalizations.

KCDC has also provided updates on the first fatal case in the country reported on February 20. The patient has died of pneumonia after being long-term hospitalized with chronic lung disease. Central Task force team has been assuming a pneumonia caused by COVID-19 to be associated with death. According to the epidemiological investigation of the 31st case (who is linked to dozens of the church cluster cases), there is no any visiting history at Daenam hospital; he visited Cheongdo at the beginning of February.

With the rising number of cases in the region, the central government is cooperating with local government to strengthen public health measure in Daegu-Kyeongbuk province.

As a result of this week’s surge in the number of confirmed cases, KCDC alarmed against the possibility of community transmission. KCDC also advised that anyone who have attended a service at Shincheonji Church or visited Cheongdo Daenam hospital in February should stay home and avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. If they have fever or respiratory symptoms, they should first get a consultation with KCDC Call Center(1339) or a triage health center nearby before going to health care facilities.

SOURCE: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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