COVID-19: 27 new community cases and 1 new death; mandatory testing for residents of Hougang HDB block
SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday (May 20), including 27 infections in the community, and one death.
A 70-year-old Singaporean man, identified as Case 62687, died from complications due to COVID-19 infection on Thursday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). He had previously been linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster.
The man had been warded in Ward 9D at TTSH on Apr 22 and was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Apr 30. MOH said the man had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and had a history of lung cancer and atrial fibrillation.
This is the second COVID-19 death reported in May. As of Thursday, Singapore's COVID-19 death toll stands at 32, with the total number of cases at 61,730.
21 LINKED CASES, 6 UNLINKED
Twenty-one of the new community infections reported on Thursday are linked to previous cases, while six are currently unlinked, said MOH. Among them, 15 cases had already been placed on quarantine earlier.
Six of the community cases involve students. Two are from Madrasah Al-Ma’arif Al-Islamiah and the rest are from Singapore Polytechnic, Skool4kidz Centre, Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) and Yuan Ching Secondary School.
There were also 14 imported cases, who had already been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore. Seven Singaporeans and three permanent residents returned from India and Indonesia while two dependant's pass holders arrived from Germany and Sri Lanka. Two are work pass holders who arrived from Nepal and the Philippines.
MOH said the arrivals from the Indian sub-continent had already come into Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed.
No new cases were reported in migrant workers' dormitories.
SINGAPORE POLYTECHNIC STUDENT AMONG UNLINKED CASES
The six unlinked community cases include a 19-year-old Malaysian who is a student at Singapore Polytechnic. The teenager, known as Case 63487, had last attended school on May 15.
She developed a fever on May 19 and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on the same day, where she tested positive for her antigen rapid test (ART) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on the same day. Her serology test result is pending.
Singapore Polytechnic said in a statement on Thursday night that it will expand its current COVID-19 testing exercise to include all staff members and students from the School of Chemical & Life Sciences. The polytechnic began testing 6,500 students and staff members for COVID-19 on May 19, after three positive cases were reported.
The other cases are a fully vaccinated 59-year-old Singaporean who works at Mary Fashion and Trading in Ang Mo Kio, a 41-year-old Singaporean who works as a customer service personnel at Times Bookstore, and a 49-year-old permanent resident homemaker identified as Case 63479.
The remaining cases are a 54-year-old Malaysian who works at Seagate Singapore International Headquarters and a 69-year-old Singaporean works as a cleaner employed by Weishen Industrial Services.
All of them had developed symptoms such as fever, runny nose, body aches, as well as loss of taste or smell prior to testing positive for COVID-19.
4 LINKED TO CHANGI AIRPORT TERMINAL 3 CLUSTER
Four more cases who had already been quarantined have been linked to the cluster at Changi Airport. Among them are two Singaporeans, aged eight and 14, who are students at Madrasah Al-Ma’arif Al-Islamiah. Both of them are household contacts of several previously confirmed cases.
There is also a fully vaccinated 63-year-old Singaporean who is employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation security officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and a 43-year-old Singaporean who works as an administrative personnel at Glory Ship Management.
The Changi Airport cluster now has 100 cases linked to it.
LEARNING POINT CLUSTER
A 38-year-old Singaporean who works as a legal service officer at Legal Service Commission has been linked to the Learning Point cluster. The woman, who is fully vaccinated, is a family member and household contact of a previously confirmed case, a seven-year-old Singaporean who is a student at CHIJ (Katong) Primary School.
There are now 28 cases linked to the Learning Point cluster.
MORE STUDENTS LINKED TO EXISTING CASES
The other linked community cases include a 12-year-old Singaporean who is a student at Anglo-Chinese School (Junior). The boy is a family member and a household contact of a previously confirmed case, a 46-year-old Singaporean who is an investment banker at DBS.
There is also a 15-year-old permanent resident who is a student at Yuan Ching Secondary School. She is a family member and household contact of Case 63479, a 49-year-old permanent resident who is a homemaker.
The other cases include a 39-year-old Malaysian who works as an electrician at Yew Hock Automation Service & Control, a 32-year-old Filipino foreign domestic worker, and a 38-year-old Singaporean who works at Pacific Law Corporation. They are all household or workplace contacts of previously confirmed cases.
ANOTHER CHANGI PRISON INMATE TESTS POSITIVE
One more inmate has been linked to the cluster at Changi Prison Complex. The 41-year-old Singaporean is a close contact of a previously confirmed case, a 39-year-old Chinese national who is employed by SATS Food Services as a cook at the prison.
The inmate was quarantined on May 13. He was tested for COVID-19 on the same day, and his test result came back negative.
He developed a runny nose, sore throat, headache and body aches on May 19 and was tested again. His test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day. His serology test result is negative.
There are now eight cases linked to the Changi Prison cluster.
JIN TAI TONG FOOD INDUSTRIES CLUSTER
Three more cases have been linked to the Jin Tai Tong Food Industries cluster. One had been quarantined earlier: A 32-year-old Chinese national who works as a warehouse assistant at Jin Tai Tong Warehouse.
Two others were detected through surveillance. A 53-year-old Singaporean who works as a packing assistant at Jin Tai Mart was tested on May 18 as part of testing operations for those who had visited White Sands shopping mall. The other case is a 40-year-old Chinese national who works as a store assistant at Jin Tai Mart.
There are now eight cases linked to this cluster.
SMS INFOCOMM CLUSTER
One more case has been traced to the Sms Infocomm cluster. The 49-year-old Singaporean, who works as a factory operator at the company, is a colleague and close contact of a previously confirmed case, a 54-year-old Malaysian.
She developed a sore throat on May 16 and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where she was tested for COVID-19. She was also placed on quarantine on the same day. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on May 19 and her serology test result is pending.
READ: Which masks have good filtration efficiency? What you need to know about the updated mask guidelines
KFC WORKER LINKED TO CASE 63357 CLUSTER
Six more cases, all close contacts or family members, have been linked to the Case 63357 cluster. Case 63357 is a 32-year-old Singaporean who works as an IT engineer at AbbVie Operations Singapore. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on May 16.
Five of the six new cases had already been quarantined. They include a three-year-old Singaporean who is a student at Skool4kidz Centre at Punggol Way and a 60-year-old Singaporean who is employed by Jonguil Asia Cleaning and deployed as a cleaner at The Cascadia.
There is also a 59-year-old Singaporean who is employed by White Guard Security as a security officer, a 33-year-old Singaporean who works as a technician at PSA Singapore (Tanjong Pagar Terminal), as well as a 32-year-old Singaporean who works as a clinic assistant at Etern Medical Clinic (Punggol MRT).
The remaining case, a 36-year-old permanent resident, was detected through surveillance. She is a family member of Case 63357 and works as a service staff member at KFC at Jalan Mas Puteh.
She developed a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and headache on May 17 night and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where she underwent both an ART and PCR test.
Her ART came back positive on May 18 and she was immediately isolated. Her PCR test result came back positive on May 19. Her serology test result is pending, said the health ministry.
MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTS FOR RESIDENTS AT HOUGANG HDB BLOCK
MOH said its epidemiological investigations have found that "a few COVID-19 cases" live at 506 Hougang Avenue 8.
As a precautionary measure, the Health Ministry will conduct mandatory COVID-19 tests for all residents of the block. The testing operations will be conducted at the void deck of the block on May 21 and 22.
"We have distributed leaflets to affected residents, and will also send them an SMS notification. Residents of 506 Hougang Avenue 8 are also advised to monitor their health closely and consult a doctor immediately if they feel unwell," said the ministry.
240 PATIENTS STILL IN HOSPITAL
MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 71 cases in the week before to 190 cases in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from 11 cases in the week before to 52 cases in the past week.
Among the 277 confirmed cases reported from May 14 to May 20, a total of 63 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 150 have tested negative. A further 64 serology test results are pending.
Forty-six more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 61,229.
There are 240 patients still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and four are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Another 229 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.
The Health Ministry also added several new locations to its list of places visited by COVID-19 cases in the community during their infectious period.
They include eateries at Paya Lebar Square and United Square Shopping Mall, as well as a KFC outlet at Jalan Mas Puteh.
FairPrice supermarkets at White Sands, The Seletar Mall, Sun Plaza and Woodlands Avenue 1 were also added to the list.
USE BETTER MASKS
MOH has advised people to use masks with better protection, such as those with better filtration efficiency, to mitigate the risk of infection.
Suitable face coverings include surgical masks and reusable masks that are made of at least two layers of fabric, said the ministry on Tuesday.
Reusable masks such as those issued by the People's Association and Temasek Foundation also have good filtration efficiency, it added.
Singapore updated its guidance on the use of masks on Tuesday on the back of rising COVID-19 infections in the community.
This is because the recent COVID-19 clusters "suggest a higher level of transmission, likely attributed to new virus variants", said MOH.