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Yale-NUS student tests positive for COVID-19; residents in affected hostel block to self-isolate

Yale-NUS student tests positive for COVID-19; residents in affected hostel block to self-isolate

A Google Street view of Cendana College at Yale-NUS College.

SINGAPORE: A Yale-NUS student has tested positive for COVID-19, and individuals residing in the same hostel block as the student have been asked to self-isolate in their rooms. 

The student - identified as Case 62627 - is a 20 year-old Indian national who last attended classes on Apr 12, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its update on Friday (Apr 30) night. 

He had been in India from Mar 21, 2020 to Jan 20, 2021 and was a close contact of 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases while he was in India, said the ministry.

He developed a fever, sore throat and body aches on Apr 26 and self-isolated. The student was swabbed on Apr 28 at the NUS University Health Centre and tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.

"His Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and his serology test result has come back positive," MOH said.

MOH added that the student could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others.

"But given that we are not able to definitively conclude when he had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure." 

Responding to CNA's queries, Yale-NUS College's dean of students Dave Stanfield said on Friday that deep cleaning and disinfection of all places in the college visited by the student, including common areas, have been completed.

As a precautionary measure, all individuals living in the same residential block have been placed on a seven-day leave of absence and will need to self-isolate in their rooms, said Dr Stanfield. 

The school remains in close contact with the student "to render all necessary support and wish our student a full recovery soon", he added.

READ: 9 new COVID-19 community cases, including 4 linked to Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster

"We continue to ask our community to adhere strictly to all precautionary measures put in place, monitor their health, practise good personal hygiene and be socially responsible," Dr Stanfield said.  

According to a Yale-NUS circular seen by CNA, the student is residing in Cendana College Tower A.

Close contacts are being identified, according to the circular. 

All residents in Cendana College Tower A are asked to self-isolate in their room for seven days until May 7, 12pm. They are also required to comply with the self-isolation rules that were shared with them. 

"During this period, please do not visit or enter the premises of Tower A. All individuals who were in close contact with the affected student will be quarantined." 

According to the notice, staff members and faculty who are able to work from home can choose to do so for the next seven days.

READ: People 'should limit' social interactions to maximum of 2 a day, says MOH

According to a copy of an email seen by TODAY, students who are at home, but were in the affected hostel block between Apr 24 and Apr 29 can remain quarantined at home. They may also choose to return to the hostel to quarantine there if they have vulnerable people at home. 

Quarantined students may leave their room briefly only for essential services such as laundry and receiving food orders from a food delivery service. Meals from the dining hall will also be delivered to their rooms. 

The students' office told students to attend examinations online and inform their lecturers and professors if they have face-to-face classes, work duties for an internship, or research project, said the email. 

Any breach of these rules will result in disciplinary action, including termination of campus housing, suspension or dismissal from the college. 

Source: CNA/lk(ta)

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