SINGAPORE: More than 33,100 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on pre-school staff members as of Tuesday (May 26), with 13 staff testing positive.
Earlier this month, the authorities announced that all teaching and non-teaching staff at pre-schools would be tested for COVID-19, in order to reduce the risk of transmission when centres resume full services.
Providing an update on the testing of pre-school staff on Thursday, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), said that 12 individuals had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday.
They made up about 0.036 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, he said at a multi-ministry task force press conference.
MOH said in its daily COVID-19 report on Thursday night that an additional pre-school staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total to 13.
It also provided an update on the number of staff tested so far, saying that more than 39,000 individuals had been swabbed.
In addition to the swab screening tests, serology tests were also performed for pre-school staff members who tested positive, To date, 11 have had positive serology tests, while results are pending for the remaining two cases.
The results of the serology tests and polymerase chain reaction tests were “critically evaluated”, and evidence suggests that these are not active infections, but old infections, said Assoc Prof Mak.
"As a result, it is our evaluation and our assessment that none of these staff members currently are a risk to either other colleagues within the pre-school setting, or to the children that are supported and cared for by the pre-school staff," he said.
"And this, of course, means that they are not infectious and there’s less of a concern."
"The majority of the staff members are asymptomatic, they are all well," he said of the twelve positive cases, adding that all the staff members have made a full recovery.
This also reaffirms the authorities' assessment that there was “some level” of community spread before Singapore's "circuit breaker" was imposed, said Assoc Prof Mak, noting that the pre-school staff members who tested positive would have been exposed to COVID-19 infection earlier and therefore become infected themselves.
“But with the circuit breaker in place, we have seen the number of community active cases are coming down very significantly, which is consistent with our assessment that the circuit breaker measures have been effective.”
Watch the full press conference: