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'Large majority' of the COVID-19 cases in new Changi General Hospital cluster are outsourced workers

'Large majority' of the COVID-19 cases in new Changi General Hospital cluster are outsourced workers

An overview of the new Changi General Hospital medical centre. (Photo: Changi General Hospital)

SINGAPORE: A "large majority" of the cases in a new COVID-19 cluster at Changi General Hospital (CGH) are workers from outsourced service partners who do not interact directly with patients, the hospital said on Saturday (Sep 4).

The new cluster was identified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday and had 14 cases as of Friday. It is the second active cluster there – an earlier cluster was identified on Aug 3

The latest cluster is the third cluster at the hospital since June. The first cluster, identified on Jun 25, was closed on Jul 31.

"These cases (in the new cluster) are not linked to the earlier cluster," said the hospital in a media release.

CGH said the cases in the new cluster were detected through the hospital's proactive testing.

"These (staff members) have their workplaces at the hospital’s basement level and do not have direct interaction with patients in their course of work," it said.

"Almost all are fully vaccinated, and all had adhered to safe management measures. None of them are critically ill, largely due to their vaccination."

The hospital said it was actively tracing and testing to ringfence infections, with swab testing largely completed for those working in the basement level.

As a precautionary measure, all CGH staff, including outsourced service partners, will undergo a one-time self-administered antigen rapid test, it said. This is on top of the rostered routine testing regime for "patient-fronting staff".

Epidemiological investigations were ongoing for the positive cases. Workers identified as close contacts have been placed on quarantine orders or on leave of absence pending further investigations, the hospital added.

HOSPITAL "SAFE FOR VISITATION"

CGH "remains safe for visitation", said the hospital.

"Clinical areas are not affected and the hospital remains safe for clinical appointments and ward visitation, with adherence to prevailing visitation guidelines," it said.

Visits at all hospitals have been allowed to resume since Aug 19, following a two-week suspension after more community cases were detected, including among staff members and patients of hospitals.

Visitors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be able to show a valid negative test result for the virus. General ward patients can pre-register up to two visitors for the duration of their admission. They can receive two visits each day, with one visitor in the ward at any one time for up to 30 minutes.

CGH said that precautionary measures such as thorough cleaning and disinfection of the relevant areas have been completed, and infection control protocols are in place on the hospital's campus.

The hospital said it will continue to support and care for the infected workers.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and review and reinforce current measures as the need arises to keep patients and staff safe," it said.

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Source: CNA/dv

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