15 community cases, including 2 PRs, among 517 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore

People cross a street during morning peak hour commute amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore on 3 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Thursday (4 June) 517 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 36,922, as well as four additional clusters mostly linked to foreign worker dormitories.

Of the new cases, 502 are foreign workers living in dorms, said the ministry, while 15 others are classified as cases in the community.

All 15 cases were close contacts of earlier confirmed cases, and have already been placed on quarantine, it added.

“They are all asymptomatic, but we had swabbed them to confirm and verify their status during quarantine. Besides the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, we also conducted serological tests to determine if these are current or past infections,” said the MOH.

Of the 15 cases, 13 – including a 78-year-old male permanent resident – reside in a shophouse at Veerasamy Road with an earlier confirmed case, identified as number 33273. The remaining housemates who were part of community cases reported on Thursday are all Indian male nationals, aged between 30 and 48.

Amongst them, three have positive serological test results, which is indicative of past infections, while eight have come back negative. Two results are pending, said the MOH.

The remaining work pass holder, a 40-year-old male Indian national, was a housemate of an earlier confirmed case, identified as 33599 – at Bendemeer Road, and has been quarantined at a government quarantine facility since 30 May.

His serological test has come back positive, which is indicative of a past infection.

The remaining infected permanent resident, a 24-year-old man, is a household contact of previously confirmed cases – 21538 and 29273 – and has been placed on quarantine since 7 May.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing to determine if this is a past infection, the MOH said.

Overall, only one per cent of new cases have no established links.

The MOH said that the number of new cases in the community has increased from an average of five cases per day in the week before, to an average of six per day in the past week.

Separately, the number of unlinked cases in the community has remained stable at an average of two per day in the past two weeks, it added.

The MOH also announced the closure of the cluster linked to the dorm at 3 Buroh Lane as there have been no cases linked to it for the past two incubation periods or 28 days.

The four newly-identified clusters are linked to a worksite at Kampong Bugis, as well as dorms at 212 Tagore Lane, 63 Tuas South Avenue and 109 Ubi Avenue 4.

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,720 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,013 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,434 cases, and Tuas View Dormitory with 1,391 cases.

The four are among the 25 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas and account for some 22 per cent of 34,631 total infected foreign workers living in dorms.

Some 400,000 such workers live in dorms here in Singapore.

National Development Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce Lawrence Wong had at a 12 May press conference said that some 20,000 infected foreign workers are expected to be discharged by end-May.

(For more information on the clusters, read here.)

Close to 24,000 cases discharged

With 322 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, a total of 23,904 – over 60 per cent of total cases here – here have fully recovered from the infection, said the MOH on Thursday.

Most of the 303 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while five are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 12,691 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 24 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, nine others who tested positive for the virus have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and two 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 1 June, the ministry has conducted 408,495 swab tests, of which 264,393 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 71,700 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 46,400 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

Public places visited by community cases

The MOH has been publishing a list of locations visited by cases in the community for over 30 minutes since last Monday.

An additional date for a previously announced location was made to the list on Thursday: 25 May between 4pm to 4.30pm at the NTUC FairPrice outlet at Taman Jurong Shopping Centre.

(TABLE: MOH)

This list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-day basis or one incubation period, the ministry said.

As a precautionary measure, the MOH advised those who had been at these locations during the specified timings to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit.

They have also been urged by the ministry to visit the doctor if they develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

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