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COVID-19: Testing to be expanded for staff members in eldercare sector

COVID-19: Testing to be expanded for staff members in eldercare sector

An NTUC Health Nursing Home. (Photo: NTUC Health)

SINGAPORE: More staff members in the eldercare sector will be tested for COVID-19 after the "circuit breaker" period ends.

This will include those who work in non-residential care services such as eldercare centres and dialysis centres.

In a press release on Friday (May 22), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said this was part of the first phase of post-circuit breaker measures after Singapore exits the period on Jun 1.

"We will continue to complement our precautionary measures with surveillance testing. This allows us to pick up cases early and to limit further transmission," said MOH

"We conducted tests for all staff members of residential care homes earlier and testing of all residents is under way. These initial sweeps will guide the approach for future surveillance in residential care homes.

"We will also conduct tests for staff of non-residential care services, namely designated eldercare centres and day hospices, kidney dialysis centres, and home care providers."

Along with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and National Council of Social Service, MOH said it will continue to ensure tight coordination among community partners such as charities, social service agencies and ground-up groups, so that help continues to reach those in need, while keeping everyone safe.

"The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will also continue to check in on seniors via phone to refer them to assistance as needed," said MOH.

READ: All residents and staff at nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19, some employees to be housed on-site or at hotels

On Tuesday, Singapore announced that it would gradually lift restrictions and ease COVID-19 circuit breaker measures over a span of three phases

In its release, MOH added more activities for seniors could resume if community transmission remained low and stable over the next few weeks.

“If the community transmission rate remains low and stable in the subsequent few weeks, MOH expects to be able to resume more activities in Phase 2, including reviewing the restrictions on visits at residential care homes as well as among different households, and increasing the activities of centre-based care services,” it said.

MOH also said that depending on the COVID-19 situation and risk assessment, it would continue to ease measures gradually and “eventually reach a new normal in Phase 3”.

"Seniors can resume day-to-day activities and we can allow social activities in small groups, with safe distancing measures and other precautions remaining in place," said MOH, adding that more details on the range of activities and services to be resumed in Phases 2 and 3 will be announced later.

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Source: CNA/ic(rw)


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