SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 1,504 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Thursday (Sep 23), the highest since the pandemic began early last year.
The 1,491 local infections comprise 1,218 community cases and 273 dormitory residents. There were also 13 imported cases.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced two more fatalities, taking the national death toll to 70.
The first was a 93-year-old Singaporean woman who died on Thursday. She tested positive for COVID-19 on Sep 17 and had not been vaccinated against the disease, said MOH.
She also had a history of heart failure, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.
The second fatality, a 71-year-old Singaporean woman, tested positive for the disease on Thursday and died on the same day. She was unvaccinated and had a history of cancer.
The new cases include 343 seniors above the age of 60, the Health Ministry said in a daily update released to the media at about 10.30pm.
As of Thursday, Singapore has reported a total of 82,860 COVID-19 cases.
CASES OF SERIOUS ILLNESS
There are 1,120 patients warded in hospital. Most of them are well and under observation, said MOH.
A total of 163 cases of serious illness require oxygen supplementation, and 23 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Among those who fell very ill are 155 seniors above the age of 60.
Over the last 28 days, 97.9 per cent of the local cases were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
There were 289 cases who needed oxygen supplementation and 29 had been in the ICU. Of these, 53.8 per cent were fully vaccinated and 46.2 per cent were either partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.
Maple Bear Preschool at Orchard Road has been added to a list of 13 large clusters currently being monitored by MOH.
Three new cases were linked to the cluster on Thursday, bringing its total to 12. The cases comprise eight students, three staff members and one household member of a case.
Two dormitories were also added to the list of large clusters.
The first - Bukit Batok Road/Plantation Crescent dormitory - currently stands at a total of 23 cases.
The infections were caused by intra-dormitory transmission among residents with no evidence of spread beyond the dormitory, MOH said.
The other cluster at Tampines Dormitory currently has a total of 26 cases. It also involves intra-dormitory transmission among residents with no evidence of spread beyond the dormitory.
Cases at the two dormitory clusters were identified through testing operations, added MOH.
MOH said 82 per cent of Singapore's population has completed their full vaccination regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 84 per cent has received at least one dose as of Wednesday.
More than 9 million doses have been administered under the national vaccination programme covering about 4.58 million people, with 4.46 million having completed the full regimen of two doses.
Another 187,529 doses of other vaccines recognised in the World Health Organization's emergency use listing have been administered, covering 87,257 people.
SURGE IN CASES PUTTING STRAIN ON GROUND OPERATIONS: MOH
The Health Ministry said on Thursday that ground operations are “much strained”, with case numbers on the rise and home recovery the default mode of care management for COVID-19 patients.
Some patients on home recovery said they have not received instructions from authorities about tests or what they should do after they tested positive.
“The surge in cases has caused delays and we seek your patience and understanding. We are streamlining our operations and will get to you as soon as possible,” said MOH in response to media queries.
Home recovery patients now account for up to 40 per cent of cases every day, it added.
Those on home recovery will receive an SMS providing more information on what they should do during the 10-day period.
“Try not to call quarantine hotline, MOH hotline, QSM hotline etc - this will just further jam up the system,” MOH said.
“We are setting up the home recovery buddy system and beefing up our resources, and the home recovery buddy will get back to you.”