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This exercise aimed to validate New Taipei City’s strategic plan for a city lockdown in response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The main goal of all solutions was the principle of “reducing citizen activity and strengthening government control.”
We created a suitable exercise, creating 15 hypothetical situations for 3 stages. All participating units designed and proposed policy plans and execution protocols according to each situation.
In the course of the exercise, many existing policies and execution protocols were validated. These addressed (1) situations occurring in Stage 1, when the epidemic was spreading to the point of lockdown preparations; (2) approaches to curb the continued spread of the epidemic in Stage 2; and (3) returning to work after the epidemic was controlled and lockdown lifted in Stage 3. Twenty response units participated in the exercise. Although favorable outcomes were obtained, the evaluators provided comments suggesting further improvements.
Our exercise demonstrated a successful example to help policy-making and revision in a large city of over 4 million people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also enhanced participants’ subject knowledge and familiarity with the implementation of a city lockdown. For locations intending to go into lockdown, similar tabletop exercises are an effective verification option.
Extensive environmental contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been reported in hospitals during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We report our experience with the practice of directly observed environmental disinfection (DOED) in a community isolation facility (CIF) and a community treatment facility (CTF) in Hong Kong.
The CIF, with 250 single-room bungalows in a holiday camp, opened on July 24, 2020, to receive step-down patients from hospitals. The CTF, with 500 beds in open cubicles inside a convention hall, was activated on August 1, 2020, to admit newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients from the community. Healthcare workers (HCWs) and cleaning staff received infection control training to reinforce donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and to understand the practice of DOED, in which the cleaning staff observed patient and staff activities and then performed environmental disinfection immediately thereafter. Supervisors also observed cleaning staff to ensure the quality of work. In the CTF, air and environmental samples were collected on days 7, 14, 21, and 28 for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-PCR. Patient compliance with mask wearing was also recorded.
Of 291 HCWs and 54 cleaning staff who managed 243 patients in the CIF and 674 patients in the CTF from July 24 to August 29, 2020, no one acquired COVID-19. All 24 air samples and 520 environmental samples collected in the patient area of the CTF were negative for SARS-CoV-2. Patient compliance with mask wearing was 100%.
With appropriate infection control measures, zero environmental contamination and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to HCWs and cleaning staff was achieved.
Several studies suggested a potential role of viral infection in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the association between herpes zoster and PD was not investigated well till now.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 13 083 patients aged ≥45 years with herpes zoster and 52 332 (1:4) age-/sex-matched controls were enrolled between 1998 and 2008 and followed to the end of 2011. Those who developed PD during the follow-up period were identified.
The Cox regression analysis with adjustment of demographic characteristics, health system utilization, and comorbidities demonstrated that patients with herpes zoster had an increased risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.43-2.28) of developing PD in later life compared to the control group. Sensitivity tests after excluding the first year (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.16-1.93) and first 2-year (HR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.10-1.88) observation periods showed consistent results.
Patients with herpes zoster were more likely to develop PD in later life compared to the controls. Additional studies are necessary for validating our results and to clarify the underlying pathophysiology between herpes zoster and PD.
Information systems (IS) have facilitated workflow in the health care system for years. However, the utilization of IS in disaster medical assistance teams (DMATs) has been less studied.
In Taiwan, we started a program in 2008 to build up an information system, MEDical Assistance and Information Dashboard (MED-AID), to improve the capability and increase the efficiency of our national DMAT.
Method: The mission of our national DMAT was to provide acute trauma care and subacute outpatient care in the field after an emergency event (e.g., earthquakes). We built the IS through a user-oriented process to fit the need of the DMAT. We first analyzed the response work in the DMAT missions and reviewed the current paperwork. We evaluated the eligibility and effectiveness of the core functions of DMATs by experts in Taiwan and then developed the IS. The IS was then tested and revised each year in two table-top exercises and one regional full-scale exercise by the DMAT staffs who came from different hospitals in Taiwan.
During the past 10 years, we identified several core concepts of IS of DMAT: patient tracking, medical record, continuity of care, integration of referral resources, disease surveillance, patient information reporting, and medical resources management. The application of the IS facilitate the DMAT in providing safe patient care with continuous recording and integrate patient referral resources based on geographic information. The IS also help the planning in real-time disease surveillance and logistic function in the medical resources monitoring.
Information systems could facilitate patient care and relieve the workload on information analysis and resources management for DMATs.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable mental illness that transmits intergeneratively. Previous studies supported that first-degree relatives (FDRs), such as parents, offspring, and siblings, of patients with bipolar disorder, had a higher risk of bipolar disorder. However, whether FDRs of bipolar patients have an increased risk of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains unclear.
Among the entire population in Taiwan, 87 639 patients with bipolar disorder and 188 290 FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to have a higher risk of major psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder (RR 6.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.95–6.30), MDD (RR 2.89, 95% CI 2.82–2.96), schizophrenia (RR 2.64, 95% CI 2.55–2.73), ADHD (RR 2.21, 95% CI 2.13–2.30), and ASD (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.92–2.29), than the total population did. These increased risks for major psychiatric disorders were consistent across different familial kinships, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins. A dose-dependent relationship was also found between risk of each major psychiatric disorder and numbers of bipolar patients.
Our study was the first study to support the familial coaggregation of bipolar disorder with other major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, MDD, ADHD, and ASD, in a Taiwanese (non-Caucasian) population. Given the elevated risks of major psychiatric disorders, the public health government should pay more attention to the mental health of FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
We propose a nonscanning three-dimensional (3D) optical microscope based on reflectivity-height transformation in applications of biological and transparent plate measurements. The reflectivity of a prism can be transformed to the surface height of the specimen based on geometrical optics and the principle of internal reflection. Thus, the pattern of reflectivity is representative of the surface profile. Using charge-coupled device cameras to obtain the two-dimensional image patterns and combining with its reflectivity pattern, the 3D profile can be generated. The lateral resolution is determined by the diffraction limit, and the vertical resolution is better than several nanometers according to the incident angle and polarization used.
The crystallization kinetics and phase developments of PbO–BaO–SrO–Nb2O5–B2O3–SiO2-based glass-ceramics was investigated. Lead strontium barium niobate, (Pb,Sr,Ba)Nb2O6, with a tetragonal tungsten-bronze structure formed as the major crystalline phase, which showed evidence of both surface and bulk crystallization. The results of the present study showed significant evidence of a change in crystallization mechanism between the as-heated surface and the interior of glass-ceramics. This effect could be attributed to a volatilization of PbO taken place readily on the surface region of sample during heating. The grain size of the bulk-nucleated (Pb,Sr,Ba)Nb2O6 crystals was substantially smaller than that of surface-nucleated crystals. This result facilitated meeting the capacitors as high energy density application due to the ultrafine grains (<60 nm) obtained. The dielectric constant increased from 27 for the as-quenched glass to 200 for a highly crystallized glass-ceramic, which was attributed to a significant volume fraction of (Pb, Sr, Ba) Nb2 O6 phase.
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