MOH suspends in-person visits to residential care homes from Monday as COVID-19 cases rise among residents, employees
SINGAPORE: All in-person visits to residential care homes will be suspended from Monday (Sep 13) after an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among employees, clients and residents.
Forty-two cases across 18 aged care facilities have been detected in the past two weeks, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Sunday. “With the number of cases expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks, we need to take further action to protect the vulnerable seniors in these settings,” the ministry added.
Visits will be suspended for four weeks, until Oct 11. “This temporary suspension of visitation will give us time to encourage more unvaccinated seniors to get vaccinated, and roll out the vaccine booster programme for residents of aged care facilities,” said the Health Ministry.
Residents of aged care facilities will be invited to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from Sep 14, the Government announced on Friday. Residents who have completed their vaccination regimen with two doses at least six months ago are also eligible.
EMPLOYEES, RESIDENTS TO BE TESTED MORE FREQUENTLY
Employees, residents and clients of aged care facilities will be tested more frequently with Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) as part of efforts to “strengthen” the testing regime, MOH said.
The ministry also encouraged the next-of-kin of unvaccinated seniors in aged care facilities “to support and encourage their loved ones to be vaccinated”.
“Unvaccinated seniors may suffer severe illness if infected. It is also important for vaccinated seniors to receive the booster vaccination when it is made available, to ensure a continued high level of immunity and protection from severe disease,” the Health Ministry said.
Visits to residential care homes serving the elderly were last suspended on Jun 5, also amid a spike in COVID-19 transmission in the community.
When visits resumed on Jun 20, visitors were required to take antigen rapid tests at the facility and test negative prior to entry.