(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest figures; ADDS more details in paras 2, 8-11)
SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) — South Korea reported four more novel coronavirus-related deaths in the southeastern city of Daegu on Sunday, bringing the country’s death toll to 21.
In the latest case, an 80-year-old woman was found dead by her son at her residence in Daegu, according to local health authorities. She had been in isolation since last week after showing symptoms of COVID-19 and was tested, and she was confirmed on Sunday to have the virus.
An 86-year-old woman, who had also been in self-quarantine at her residence while waiting to be hospitalized after it was confirmed she had COVID-19, was transferred to a hospital early Sunday but died due to dyspnea, according to the Daegu government.
She the underlying diseases diabetes and hyperlipidemia, it added.
Another victim was an 80-year-old male patient who had been to a clinic in the neighboring county of Chilgok. He tested positive on Friday and had been hospitalized, the government said, adding that he had long suffered from hypertension.
Earlier in the day, an 83-year-old patient in Daegu died, according to Kwon Jun-wook, a Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) official, at a press briefing. He had suffered a stroke and had hypertension.
As more people have died at their homes while waiting to be hospitalized, the health authorities on Sunday came up with fresh treatment guidelines that categorize patients into four groups according to their condition, admitting those with serious illnesses first.
Those with minor symptoms will be sent to designated local facilities for treatment, they added.
South Korea has been struggling to secure more hospital beds in the face of a surge in the number of the virus patients since last week, particularly in Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, with a cluster of infections linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
As of 4 p.m., South Korea had reported a total of 3,736 confirmed cases. Of the total, more than 87 percent of the cases are in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, according to KCDC data.