One S'porean among 249 new COVID-19 cases in S'pore; 15 in community, 5 imported

·Editorial Team
·5-min read
Voters wearing face masks queue up at a polling station during Singapore's general election, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak on 10 July, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)
Voters wearing face masks queue up at a polling station during Singapore's general election, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak on 10 July, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 249 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (15 July) afternoon, bringing the total to 46,878.

Of them, 15 – all work pass and permit holders – are classified as cases in the community, while five are imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival in Singapore. The remaining 229 are foreign workers residing in dormitories.

Overall, six per cent of the new cases have no established links.

All but one of the community cases are asymptomatic and were detected through proactive testing, said the ministry.

Of them, five are linked to previous cases or clusters, of which three – cases 46766, 46942 and 46943 – had been identified as contacts of previously confirmed cases, and had been tested during their quarantine to determine their status, even though they are asymptomatic.

The remaining two linked cases – no, 46807 and 46812 – are also asymptomatic, and were swabbed as part of the periodic screening of workers in the construction sector.

Nine of the ten unlinked community cases had been detected as a result of the screening of workers in essential services who are living outside dorms.

“Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for the remaining case – no. 46730 – who was swabbed under our enhanced community testing to test all individuals aged 13 and above who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection at first presentation to a doctor,” said the MOH.

“Epidemiological investigations of the unlinked cases are in progress.”

All the identified close contacts of the cases have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so as to detect asymptomatic cases, said the ministry.

Serological tests will also be conducted for their household contacts to determine if these cases could have been infected by them, it added.

One Singaporean among five imported cases

Amongst the five imported cases, one – case 46809 – is a Singaporean who returned from India on 3 July. Another two – no. 46744 and 46795 – are work pass or student’s pass holders who are currently employed or study in Singapore.

The fourth case – no. 46743 – is a long-term visit pass holder whose spouse is a permanent resident.

All of them had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, and had been tested while serving their notice, said the ministry.

The last imported case – no. 46802 – had been conveyed in a dedicated transport from Changi Airport to a vessel at Jurong Port upon arrival in Singapore, where he had remained until he was placed on quarantine at a government quarantine facility.

The ministry also noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of 14 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 13 per day in the past week.

On the other hand, the number of unlinked cases in the community has increased, from an average of six cases per day in the week before, to an average of eight per day in the past week, it added.

The MOH also added six public venues to a list of places visited by community cases while infectious. They include Tat Fong Paint at 492 Geylang Road, Cheng Chew Wah Agency – a Singapore Pools authorised retailer – at 20 Frankel Terrace, All India Supermart at 41 Norris Road, Apple Orchard Road, Bugis+ and Tekka Centre.

Separately, the ministry announced that the dorm at 11 Tuas Avenue 10 has been cleared, and now houses only recovered individuals and those who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 infection. As such, the cluster has now been closed.

As of Tuesday, more than 215,000 foreign workers – or two-thirds of those living in dorms – have been tested and cleared in an ongoing effort, said the ministry. Of Singapore’s total COVID-19 tally, 44,171 – some 94 per cent – are workers living in dorms.

“We are on track to clear about 80 per cent of workers staying in the dorms by end-July, and to complete the testing of dorm residents around mid-August,” the MOH added on Tuesday.

The ministry also said to expect a higher number of confirmed cases from foreign workers living in dorms over the new few days.

“In the next few days, we have a larger population of migrant workers in various purpose-built dorms completing their isolation period and being tested for COVID-19,” it added, noting that some of them came from dorms with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 infection.

92% of cases recovered, zero in ICU

With 251 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 42,988 cases – some 92 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 159 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while none are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 3,704 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 27 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 14 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

“Only cases where the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death as due to COVID-19 infection will be added to the COVID-19 death count,” said the MOH in previous press releases, adding that the method of assessment is consistent with international practices for classifying deaths.

As of 13 July, the ministry has conducted 1,009,532 swab tests, of which 519,911 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 177,100 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 91,200 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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