SINGAPORE: An ongoing proactive screening programme has seen two more pre-school staff members testing positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in an update on Saturday (May 23).
The two staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday.
This brings the total number of pre-school employees confirmed to have the virus after a proactive testing programme began on May 15 to seven.
CASES REPORTED ON SATURDAY
The two pre-school staff members are among the 11 community cases reported on Saturday.
One of the cases is a 24-year-old woman, identified as Case 30767.
The Filipino national had gone to work at PCF Sparkletots @ Gambas, and had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
The other pre-school employee, Case 31055, is a 54-year-old Singaporean woman who went to work at Shaws Preschool @ Lorong Chuan.
She was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Friday as well.
Both women are currently unlinked to other cases.
ECDA SAYS "MIDWAY THROUGH" TESTING OF PRE-SCHOOL STAFF MEMBERS
With the ramped up testing in place, about 15,300 pre-school staff members have tested negative for the virus, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said in a news release on Saturday.
This means more than 99 per cent of staff who have been tested for COVID-19 ahead of pre-schools reopening have yielded negative results.
Pre-schools and early intervention centres are expected to resume classes gradually from Jun 2, beginning with children at the kindergarten level.
Children in Nursery 1 and 2 will be allowed to return from Jun 8, while those in infant care and playgroup will be able to return from Jun 10.
According to ECDA, they are "midway through" the mass testing exercise and are expected to complete them by the end of the month.
It said: "During this proactive testing of all staff, it is expected that some positive cases will be identified.
"Testing would enable staff who are affected to get the care early, so that we can better prepare for the safe return of children and staff to pre-schools.
"Even with this proactive testing exercise, new COVID-19 cases may arise and we must continue to stay vigilant through stringent safe management requirements in preschools."
As a precautionary measure, ECDA has required pre-schools to issue a 14-day leave of absence for all children and staff who were recently in the schools at the same time as the staff who had tested positive.
The agency sought the public's understanding about pre-school staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.
"As infections can be very mild or asymptomatic (i.e. no visible symptoms), the preschool staff may not be aware that they were unwell," ECDA said.
"The test thus is useful to identify asymptomatic and mild cases ahead of preschool reopening."
READ: Transition to a 'new normal' after circuit breaker: How will measures be lifted beyond Phase 1?
COMMUNITY CASES IN SINGAPORE IN GENERAL
MOH said on Saturday the daily number of cases in the community has increased from an average of five per day in the week before, to an average of seven per day in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased, from an average of one case per day in the week before, to an average of two per day in the past week.
"This is partly due to our active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week," the ministry added.
As of Saturday, Singapore has seen a total of 31,068 cases of COVID-19, with 642 new cases reported.