New COVID-19 cluster formed after 3 cases linked to sales employee at BS Industrial & Construction Supply

New COVID-19 cluster formed after 3 cases linked to sales employee at BS Industrial & Construction Supply

National Centre for Infections Diseases (NCID) Singapore
An ambulance enters the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore on Apr 3, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A new COVID-19 cluster involving four confirmed cases has been identified in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Jan 20).

MOH reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, including four in the community. Three were included in the new cluster.

They are linked to Case 59429, a 39-year-old permanent resident who works as a sales personnel for BS Industrial & Construction Supply. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Jan 18. 

Case 59455 is a 27-year-old Malaysian work pass holder who works as a sales personnel for BS Industrial & Construction Supply and a co-worker of Case 59429.

He developed a sore throat on Jan 14 and loss of smell and taste on Jan 18. However, he did not seek medical treatment and continued to go to work.

As he was identified as a close contact of Case 59429, he was contacted by MOH on Jan 18 and conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was tested for COVID-19.

He was confirmed to be infected he next day, and his serological test returned negative, indicating a likely current infection.

READ: 4 community cases among 40 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore

Case 59456, a 29-year-old female Malaysian work pass holder, is also a sales personnel at the company.

She developed a sore throat and difficulty in breathing on Jan 16, but did not seek medical treatment. She also continued to work and interact in the community.

She was contacted by MOH after being identified as a close contact of Case 59429. She was conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and tested for COVID-19 after she reported her symptoms.

The next day, she was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. Her serological test returned negative.

Case 59474 is a 28-year-old female Malaysian work pass holder and works as a finance personnel at the company.

She developed a cough on Jan 19, the same day she was placed on quarantine as a close contact of Case 59429.

She was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she reported her symptom. She subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 and was warded at NCID on the same day. Her serological test came back negative as well.

Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been a breach of safe management measures at BS Industrial & Construction Supply personnel, MOH said.

READ: COVID-19 - Patients with mild symptoms may hesitate to see a doctor; experts urge public to be vigilant

OTHER CLUSTERS

The latest cluster at BS Industrial & Construction Supply follows on from two other clusters formed recently. 

The cluster linked to a para-vet at the police K-9 unit, who was reported as the sole community case on Jan 14, was first established on Sunday.

Six other cases have been linked to the cluster so far, including the para-vet's wife, an administrative officer at the K-9 unit, the administrative officer’s wife and their eight-year-old son. 

The para-vet, Case 59280, had developed a fever on Jan 11 and visited a general practitioner clinic on the same day, MOH said. 

READ: National Museum, Raffles City among places visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

He was subsequently tested for COVID-19 and was confirmed positive on Jan 13, after which he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

His serological test had returned negative, which indicates a likely current infection, MOH added.

The para-vet’s close contacts, including family members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine, with testing at the start and end of their quarantine periods to detect asymptomatic cases.

Twenty-five police dogs that he had interacted with two weeks prior to showing symptoms also tested negative for COVID-19, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said.

Another cluster, involving a food processing worker at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing, was formed on Tuesday. The cluster currently consists of three cases.

COVID-19 workplace clusters in Singapore

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Source: CNA/ga

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