SINGAPORE: A COVID-19 cluster has emerged in two adjoining wards at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), comprising six cases - two staff members and four patients, the hospital said on Monday (Aug 30).
IMH in a media statement said the first case, a nurse who works in both wards, was confirmed on Saturday.
The remaining five cases - a health attendant and the four patients - were detected through surveillance screening over the weekend.
Both the IMH employees as well as one of the four patients are fully vaccinated, while the other three patients are not vaccinated.
"The two affected wards have been buttoned up, with visits, admissions and discharges suspended until further notice. Surveillance screening of all staff and patients on the two wards is ongoing," said IMH.
The institute has started conducting a one-off surveillance testing on all staff members "as a precautionary measure", it said, adding that this will be completed by Sep 3.
IMH said it will also "progressively" test all inpatients.
As the cluster is confined to the two affected wards so far, operations in other parts of the hospital remain unaffected.
"Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore, IMH has stepped up surveillance and infection control measures for visitors, patients, and staff," said the institute.
Measures for staff members include wearing the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) at work and split team or modular work arrangements where feasible.
"Staff are regularly reminded not to come to work if they are unwell and to seek medical advice promptly. They also practice safe distancing and strict hand hygiene," said IMH.
Patient-facing staff members undergo rostered routine testing.
The institute added that inpatients’ temperatures are monitored twice a day and nurses look out for signs of any illness, particularly typical COVID-19 symptoms.
"IMH also provides patient education to help patients understand the COVID-19 situation and the importance of personal hygiene and infection control," it said.
IMH is part of the National Healthcare Group (NHG), which runs hospitals and polyclinics in Singapore.
According to NHG's website, the IMH has 50 wards, 2,000 beds and seven specialist outpatient clinics.