COVID-19: Two preschool staff among 614 new cases; total in Singapore now 30,426

People wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 outbreak wait at a road crossing with building displays of festive decorations at the Geylang Serai market here on 21 May, 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)
People wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 outbreak wait at a road crossing with building displays of festive decorations at the Geylang Serai market here on 21 May, 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Friday (22 May) 614 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 30,426, as well as 838 more recoveries.

It also reported two additional clusters linked to 564 A-E Balestier Road and 71 Kaki Bukit Industrial Terrace.

Of the 614 new cases, 610 are foreign workers living in dormitories, said the ministry, while the four remaining cases are all Singaporeans.

They include two female preschool staff members, one of whom is a 58-year-old who went to work at My First Skool @ Westgate and the other a 50-year-old who works at an unidentified preschool but had not gone to work recently. Both cases have no established links.

The other two Singaporeans, both men, were identified as contacts of a 48-year-old man who was deployed for operations duties at CDPL Tuas Dormitory and tested positive on 12 May.

The men, aged 35 and 37, are two of 66 additional infections confirmed on Friday to be linked to the dorm, which is now linked to a total of 617 cases.

Overall, only one per cent of the cases have no established links, including the two preschool staff members.

The MOH noted 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 seven per day in the past week.

“This is partly due to our active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week,” it explained.

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

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,589 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 1,893 cases, Tuas View Dormitory with 1,315 cases and Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,042 cases.

They are among the 25 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas and account for some 24 per cent of 28,161 infected foreign workers across all dorms. Some 400,000 workers live in dorms here in Singapore.

Some 20,000 infected foreign workers are expected to be discharged by end-May, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at a press conference last Tuesday.

(For more details on the active clusters, read here.)

Almost 13,000 discharged in total

With 838 more cases of COVID-19 infection discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, a total of 12,955 cases here have fully recovered from the infection, said the ministry on Friday.

Most of the 798 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while eight are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from 10 on Thursday.

A total of 16,650 cases with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 23 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.

It had also noted that 86 male foreign workers aged 25 to 59 died due to heart disease in Singapore in 2018.

As of 18 May, the ministry has conducted 294,414 swab tests, of which 191,260 were done on unique individuals.

This translates to around 51,600 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 33,500 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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