SINGAPORE – As authorities aggressively work to contain the spread of the virus and uncover all cases and to enforce lockdowns in two of the stations involved, Covid-19’s first hospital cluster is up to neither working nor staying at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
A nurse worked in the healthcare center on Tuesday (April 27) and was detected mainly in the proactive tests carried out by the Ministry of Health on the Thursday, 8 people – a doctor, a medical trainee and 6 patients – (April 29).Clinical monitoring of all inpatients with ARI (acute respiratory infection) and fever symptoms has been intensified. Covid-19, including those with no symptoms, will be tested as a precautionary measure for patients and staff from any other TTSH department.
“This additional testing will enable us to draw out any hidden links,” said MOH.
“Our strategy is to aggressively test and draw a wide ring around the cases, to try and prevent further spread.”
Cross-infection prevention is minimized for employees and patient movements in all main wardens, with no visitors to hospitals except critically ill patients allowed. Further, with the exception of urgent cases, optional cases are delayed and non-life-threatening accidents and cases of emergency are referred to hospitals. Cases will also be placed under a quarantine with all close contacts, including patients, visitors and staff from the affected wards.
Those in the hospital on Thursday told The Straits Times that they trusted the hospital to take measures to prevent infections. Stringent infection prevention procedures were in place by other hospitals across the island. For example, SingHealth said, all its institutions will increase the screening of patients and visitors to its campuses as a precautionary measure.
As the virus rages elsewhere in the world, experts have expressed concern about the cluster here and strongly reminded them of being vigilant.
Professor Dale Fisher, a senior infectious diseases consultant at the National University Hospital, said: “We know Covid-19 is very unforgiving. Such a cluster could have occurred anywhere and we just have to make sure that if there is a case at a hospital, it will be picked up and not allowed to spread.”
Meanwhile, 32 ICA officers have been put under quarantine at Changi Airport and around 100 are tested for Covid-19, after an ICA officer of 38 years who work there has proved to be positive.
Seven of his family members were found to be infected after a positive test on Tuesday.
The last community case is a Vietnamese 39-year-old woman who works as a cleaner with Octo Jet Building Maintenance Services and is employed in Tuas South community facilities. At the Summit at the Singapore Bukit Timah Campus, the woman who had been vaccinated regularly helped out at a food stall.On Thursday, a high of 9 months for a country, which in recent months has been used to low and zero cases, it takes the number of community cases to 16.
ICA said its officers had disinfected thoroughly, including immigration counters, immigration offices, pantries, and toilets, to common and personnel areas with which they would have come into contact.
In the case of Singapore there were 19 imported cases, none in dormitory, that were notified when staying at home.In the community, the number of new cases rose from 10 a week earlier to 28 last week. Also, in the community, the number of unrelated cases has risen from five cases a week before to seven last week. More than 149 million people were infected with the virus outbreak that began in December 2019 worldwide. There have been more than 3,15 million deaths. Thursday’s 35 new cases of coronavirus totalled 61.121 in Singapore.
Precautions taken at TTSH
• Tan Tok Seng Hospital’s 7D and 9D wards were locked up where infected patients were staying. Cases are being quarantined with close contact, including patients, visitors and personnel who were in these wards.
• Clinical monitoring of all inpatients who develop fever and have increased symptoms of acute respiratory infection.
•Even if asymptomatic, all patients and staff in other wards will be tested as well.
• Cross-infection prevention was minimized by staff and patient movement on the main wards of the hospital.
• Excluding critically ill patients, visitors are not allowed.
• Deferred elective cases. Cases of accidents and emergencies that do not threaten life are forwarded to other hospitals.
Source: The Straits Times