SINGAPORE: Three visitors to Ward 9D at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), a patient and a pharmacist were the five new COVID-19 cases linked to the hospital cluster on Tuesday (May 4).
The three visitors were detected through proactive case-finding, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its nightly COVID-19 update.
Serology test results for all five cases are pending.
The TTSH cluster has now grown to 40 cases since a nurse who works in Ward 9D first tested positive on Apr 27.
VISITORS TO WARD 9D
One of the cases is a 53-year-old Singaporean woman who visited Ward 9D multiple times between Apr 18 and Apr 28.
She was contacted by MOH on the night of Apr 29 to self-isolate and was placed on quarantine on Apr 30.
She is asymptomatic, but was tested for COVID-19 on May 2 during quarantine. Her result came back positive the next day.
She received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Apr 17.
Another visitor is a 45-year-old Philippine woman who went to Ward 9D on Apr 25.
She was placed on quarantine at a dedicated facility on Apr 30. On May 2, she developed a runny nose, sore throat and fever and reported her symptoms.
She was tested for COVID-19 on the same day and her infection was confirmed the next day.
The third visitor is a 39-year-old Indonesian woman who visited Ward 9D on Apr 21 and 22.
She was placed on quarantine at a dedicated facility on Apr 30. She developed a sore throat and fever on May 3 and reported her symptoms.
She was tested for COVID-19 on the same day and her result came back positive.
The sole hospital employee among Tuesday's addition to the TTSH cluster is a pharmacist who had interacted with patients and staff members at Ward 9D on Apr 20.
The 25-year-old Singaporean was last at work on Apr 28.
"He developed a mild runny nose on Apr 30 which resolved on the same day," said MOH.
On May 1, he was tested for COVID-19 and placed on quarantine in the early morning of May 3.
His result came back positive on the same day.
He has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received the first dose on Feb 25 and the second on Mar 18.
PATIENT IN WARD 9D
The TTSH patient who tested positive for COVID-19 had been warded in Ward 9D on Apr 26 and was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Apr 27.
He was swabbed for COVID-19 on Apr 28 and Apr 30, testing negative both times.
On May 2, he developed a cough and fever and was tested again the next day. His result came back positive on May 4.
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The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force revealed earlier on Tuesday that five people in the TTSH cluster have been found to have an Indian variant of the coronavirus.
The cases with the B16172 variant include a 57-year-old man who experienced symptoms on Apr 16 but did not seek treatment. He was admitted to Ward 7D on Apr 18 and tested negative for COVID-19. Two days later, he transferred to Ward 9D. He was reported as a confirmed case on Apr 28.
The other cases at TTSH with the Indian variant are a 46-year-old nurse who was the first detected case on Apr 27, as well as a doctor and two other patients.
Apart from the five cases in the TTSH cluster, there are two other cases with the B16172 variant - the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and the cleaner deployed at a community care facility at Tuas South. Both are from separate clusters.
The viruses in each cluster are “phylogenetically distinct”, which suggests that the clusters are not linked to one another, said MOH.
At a press conference, MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said that if Singapore's vaccination strategy had not prioritised healthcare workers and older Singaporeans, the TTSH cluster would have been “significantly larger”.
Giving an update on the hospital cluster, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said testing of all inpatients at the hospital has been completed.
“The results have all been negative, other than those whom we have already announced. Yesterday, we completed a second round of testing of these inpatients, and the results are pending," he added.
“Some of them may be incubating, and may become positive in the days ahead, and we will continue to monitor them."
Testing of all 12,000 staff members on campus is also in progress.
Singapore reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
Besides the five new cases linked to the TTSH cluster, the remaining 12 are imported infections.