S. Korea‘s COVID-19 positivity rate hit new high, gov’t rolls out new contact tracing
SEOUL — As the omicron variant spreads rapidly in South Korea, related figures have also hit fresh highs, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Monday.
As of midnight Sunday, the percentage of tests that were positive out of all tests administered in the country reached 26 percent, up 5.2 percentage points from the previous day’s 20.8 percent.
This means that one out of four people who are tested has received a positive PCR test result for COVID-19.
The figure has been increasing rapidly since last month. On Jan. 31, the positivity rate reached 7.8 percent, but it increased three-fold over the past week.
The country’s new test system, in which rapid antigen testing replaced the polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19, could have partly boosted the figure.
The number of at-home care patients are also rapidly increasing amid the omicron wave.
During the 24 hours of Sunday, at-home care patients went up by 17,729 from the previous day, raising the total to 146,445.
According to health authorities, the figure is nearing the country’s maximum capacity for those who are treated at home. The current number of at-home care patients account for 88 percent of the country’s maximum capacity of 166,000.
As of midnight Sunday, a total of 538 medical institutions were handling at-home care patients nationwide, up from the previous day’s 532.
The government said it plans to increase the number of medical institutions that can handle COVID-19 patients under at-home treatment to 650, which will increase the capacity to some 200,000.
To minimize daily COVID-19 deaths from patients who are under at-home treatment, the government said it will ensure extra care to people in high-risk groups, it said.
Meanwhile, the government will also introduce a new contact tracing system, which will have COVID-19 patients to voluntarily report their contact trace data to health authorities.
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