14 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 11 linked to Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster
SINGAPORE: Fourteen community cases were among the 39 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Sunday (May 2), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Among them, 11 cases are linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster and were detected from the ministry's proactive testing of patients, visitors and staff members at the hospital.
The cluster has now grown to 27 COVID-19 cases.
Of the other three community infections, one is currently unlinked while one case is linked to the cleaner who was deployed at a community care facility in Tuas South. The third case is linked to the ICA officer who works at Changi Airport.
There are no new cases in the dormitories.
The unlinked case - Case 62734 - is a 37-year-old foreign domestic worker from India.
She arrived on Jan 13 and served her stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Jan 27. Her test taken on Jan 26 during her stay-home notice was negative for COVID-19. She was then deployed to her employer’s place of residence.
The woman was discovered to have COVID-19 when she took a pre-departure test on Apr 29 in preparation for her return to India. Her test result came back positive the next day, and she was taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in an ambulance.
"Her Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and her serology test result has come back positive," MOH said.
"She could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection which are no longer transmissible and infective to others, but given that we are not able to definitively conclude when she had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure," the ministry added.
CLUSTER LINKED TO CLEANER AT COMMUNITY CARE FACILITY
Case 62760 is a 53-year-old Malaysian who works as a hairstylist at Me To Do Studio, a salon in Woodlands, and is a household contact of two previously confirmed cases linked to the cleaner who was deployed at a community care facility in Tuas South.
As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 62638, the colleague of the cleaner, she was placed under quarantine on Apr 29 and taken to a dedicated facility the next day. On May 1, she developed a sore throat and was tested for COVID-19 upon reporting her symptom. Her test result came back positive the next day.
MOH said that her serology test is negative.
Four infections are currently linked to this cluster, including the 39-year-old Vietnamese cleaner who first tested positive on Apr 28.
Another case has been linked to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer who was deployed at Changi Airport.
Identified as Case 62757, the 32-year-old man is an ICA officer deployed at the Home Team Academy.
As he had been identified as a close contact of Case 62517, he was placed under quarantine on Apr 27. He was tested for COVID-19 during quarantine and his result returned negative. On May 1, he was tested again and this time, his test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection. His serology test result is pending.
MOH said that he had taken his first COVID-19 vaccination dose on Jan 27 and the second on Feb 17.
The 38-year-old ICA officer deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1 first tested positive on Apr 27. Seven of his family members have since tested positive.
More Tan Tock Seng Hospital patients have tested positive for COVID-19, including five who were discharged patients. All were warded at Ward 9D between Apr 7 and 27.
The discharged patients, aged 60 to 89, were placed under quarantine on Apr 29 and tested positive for COVID-19 infection on May 1.
Three more cases linked to the TTSH cluster were visiting Ward 9D between Apr 18 and 28. They were also placed under quarantine and tested positive for COVID-19 infection.
One is a 50-year-old Singaporean woman who is a family member of Case 62573, the 88-year-old woman who died due to complications from COVID-19.
The second and third visitors to test positive are a 25-year-old woman and 58-year-old man who visited their family member who was in Ward 9D and had also contracted COVID-19.
Two more patients who were warded at Ward 9D when a 46-year-old nurse from the Philippines first tested positive have also contracted the virus. The elderly women - aged 90 and 98 - produced negative test results the first time they were tested, and only tested positive after being transferred to NCID and swabbed again.
The remaining community case linked to the TTSH cluster reported on Sunday is a 27-year-old Malaysian physiotherapist who works at Ward 9D.
The Health Ministry said TTSH has completed the swabbing of all inpatients in their main wards and the results are all negative.
"All patients will continue to be monitored closely for their health and wellbeing," MOH said.
TTSH will also be testing all 12,000 staff on campus. About 7,000 staff have already been swabbed, and priority will be given to swab staff working in clinical areas over the next few days, MOH added.
All 25 imported cases were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, MOH said.
Of these, two are Singaporeans and eight are permanent residents who returned from India.
Four are dependent’s pass holders who arrived from Nepal.
Two are work pass holders who arrived from Nepal and the United States.
Five are work permit holders from Bangladesh, India and the Philippines, of whom three are foreign domestic workers.
Two cases are short-term visit pass holders and two are special pass holders who are sea crew. They arrived from China on a vessel and were tested onboard without disembarking.
Another 21 people have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 60,786 have fully recovered from the infection.
There are currently 126 confirmed cases are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, with none in the intensive care unit.
Another 275 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities. They have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 10 cases in the week before to 51 cases in the past week, said MOH.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from 3 cases in the week before to 11 cases in the past week, it added.
READ: Hospitals introduce entry restrictions on those who have been to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's inpatient wards
TAN TOCK SENG HOSPITAL CLUSTER
The Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster is Singapore's first hospital cluster and currently the country's largest.
A 46-year-old nurse from the Philippines first tested positive on Apr 27.
One of the patients - an 88-year-old woman - has died, MOH reported on Saturday.
A total of four hospital wards have been locked down, which means there will be no movement in and out of those wards except for essential testing.
Starting from Sunday, Singapore has stopped entry or transit for visitors with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the COVID-19 task force also announced on Friday.
The ban covers all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have been in the four countries in the last 14 days, including transit.
Locally, MOH said that individuals should limit their social interactions in view of the growing number of community cases.
As of Sunday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,218 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities.