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New large COVID-19 cluster of more than 100 cases identified at IMH

New large COVID-19 cluster of more than 100 cases identified at IMH

A man walking past a signage outside the Institute of Mental Health. (File Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: A new COVID-19 cluster of 116 cases has emerged at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

The COVID-19 cases comprise 108 inpatients and eight staff members from both inpatient and outpatient settings, IMH said late Monday (Oct 25) night, after it was identified as a large cluster by the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

The inpatient cases mostly come from three blocks - Blocks 4, 5 and 6. Most of the COVID-19 cases in the cluster are long-stay patients.

IMH said that the infections were detected from its surveillance tests for patients, or picked up because they developed respiratory symptoms during their stay.

"Patients with COVID-19 are separated and cared for in dedicated wards in IMH," said IMH's media statement.

"Most of these patients are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that do not warrant being transferred to acute hospitals. If their condition deteriorates, they will be transferred to the acute hospitals if necessary."

Admission to the affected wards has been suspended, while patients who are fit for discharge can do so after they test negative for COVID-19. 

"Notwithstanding the COVID-19 cases, IMH will continue to provide good psychiatric care while ensuring the safety of our patients," said IMH.

It added that its other wards and clinical services, such as its outpatient specialist clinics, are unaffected and will continue to admit and see patients.

COVID-19 MEASURES AT IMH

IMH said that "strict surveillance and infection control measures" for visitors, patients, and staff have been in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These measures are adjusted according to the prevailing situation in the community, and adhere to guidelines issued by MOH, the media statement added.

Staff members who interact with patients undergo rostered regular testing and wear N95 masks in clinical areas. They are regularly reminded not to come to work if they are unwell, and to seek medical advice promptly.

"Inpatients are given swab tests before admission, and throughout their stay in IMH. They are also given masks to wear during their stay. Staff check patients’ temperatures twice a day and any patient with symptoms of illness are promptly isolated," said IMH.

IMH has also offered vaccination to all its acute and long-stay inpatients, as well as outpatients. 

To date, more than 90 per cent of its long-stay patients have been vaccinated. Booster shots for long-stay patients are also underway.

On Aug 30, a COVID-19 cluster was reported at IMH. The cluster emerged in two adjoining wards, and involved a nurse who worked in both wards. 

In response to CNA's queries, IMH said on Tuesday that the earlier cluster was closed.

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Source: CNA/nh

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