COVID-19: 581 of 908 new cases in S'pore linked to Acacia Lodge cluster

A man sits on a bench with distance markers along Marina Bay, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A man sits on a bench with distance markers along Marina Bay in Singapore. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 908 new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday (5 August), bringing Singapore’s total to 54,254.

Of them, one is classified as a case in the community while four are imported, including three children aged one, four, and six. The remaining 903 are foreign workers residing in dormitories, of which 581 are linked to the cluster at Acacia Lodge at 530-540 Bukit Batok Street 23.

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

“Of the 903 cases, the vast majority are dormitory residents who were tested during their isolation/ quarantine period, even though they are asymptomatic,” said the MOH.

The ministry added that they are amongst the final batch of workers being cleared and they come from dorms with a relatively high prevalence of COVID-19.

“Hence we expect the daily case counts to be high for the coming days, before tapering down thereafter as the Inter-agency taskforce completes the dormitory clearance,” it said.

The lone community case – no. 54284 – is unlinked and was identified from the proactive screening of workers in essential services who are living outside the dorms, even though he is asymptomatic.

The MOH also conducted a serological test for him, and the result has come back positive, which indicates likely past infection, the ministry said.

“Epidemiological investigations of the case are in progress. In the meantime, all the identified close contacts have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so that we can detect asymptomatic cases,” it added.

All four imported cases arrived in Singapore from India on 22 July. Amongst them, three – no. 53877, 54265 and 54266 – are dependant’s pass holders.

The remaining case – no. 53756 – is a 63-year-old short-term visit pass holder from India whose application to enter Singapore was approved as she is an elderly whose family are Singapore residents.

All of them had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon their arrival here, and were serving their notice at dedicated facilities when they were tested.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased, from an average of four cases per day in the week before, to an average of two per day in the past week.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased, from an average of two cases per day in the week before, to an average of one per day in the past week.

Separately, the MOH announced the closure of a cluster at Micron Semiconductor Asia at 1 North Coast Drive, as there have been no more cases linked to it for the past two incubation periods, or 28 days.

The MOH said that authorities “remain on track” to clear all the dorms by 7 August, except for a few standalone blocks in the dorms that serve as quarantine facilities.

There are presently about 9,700 workers in these quarantine facilities, who will have to serve out their 14-day isolation periods, and be subject to an exit test before they are able to resume work, it added.

As of 3 August, about 273,000 migrant workers, constituting about 89 per cent of those living in dorms, have either recovered or have been tested to be free from COVID-19, said the Ministry of Manpower.

A total of 1,109 dorms, as well as 52 blocks for recovered workers (BRWs) in 14 purpose-built dorms (PBDs), have also been declared cleared of COVID-19.

In the past week, 127 dorms – comprising 114 factory-converted dorms and 13 construction temporary quarters – as well as 35 BRWs in 12 PBDs have been cleared.

Of Singapore’s total COVID-19 tally, 51,334, or some 95 per cent, are foreign workers living in dorms.

IMM at Jurong East and the POPULAR Bookstore at Jurong Point were the new locations added by the MOH to the list of public places visited by COVID-19 cases in the community from 22 to 31 July.

Over 47,700 discharged; 1 in ICU

With 314 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 47,768 cases – some 88 per cent of the tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 126 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 6,333 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, 15 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.

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