COVID-19: S'pore hits 1,000-mark with new high of 74 cases, 2 more clusters including nursing home

Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane. (SCREENCAP: Google Maps)
Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane. (SCREENCAP: Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Wednesday (1 April) 74 more coronavirus cases here – the highest number of cases in a single day to date – bringing the country’s total to 1,000.

Two new clusters have also been identified: Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane with 11 cases and a dormitory located at 55 Sungei Kadut Loop with three cases.

The ages for the new cases – which supersedes last Wednesday’s count of 73 cases – range from two to 102 years old. The latter is the city-state’s oldest COVID-19 patient.

Of the 74 new cases, 20 are imported and 54 are local transmissions.

The 20 imported cases, including a Singapore General Hospital (SGH) nurse, had travel history to Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and other parts of Asia.

Of the 54 local transmissions, 25 have no established links, including an SGH clinical research coordinator and an Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) doctor.

29 are linked to previous cases or clusters. They include:

  • 10 cases – including a 102-year-old woman – linked to a previous case, forming a new cluster of 11 cases at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home

  • Two linked to another previous case, forming a new cluster of three cases at the Sungei Kadut Loop dormitory

  • Six linked to the cluster at the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol at 2 Seletar North Link, now linked to a total of 10 cases

  • Two linked to the cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory at 18 Toh Guan Road East, now linked to a total of seven cases

  • One linked to the cluster at Wilby Residences at 25 Wilby Road, now linked to a total of eight cases

  • One linked to the cluster at live music bar Hero’s at 69 Circular Road, now linked a total of seven cases

Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home cluster

The first patient – announced on Tuesday – linked to the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home cluster is an 86-year-old resident at the home who is currently in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Following the announcement, the home had worked with the MOH and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to test all of their residents and symptomatic staff for COVID-19, said the agency.

Of the 10 new cases detected on Wednesday, eight are residents at the home. The remaining two are a 42-year-old female staff member – an Indian national with a Singapore work pass – who cares for female residents at the home and a 44-year-old male family member of the staff.

The Sri Lankan man, who also holds a work pass, works in a non-patient facing role at the Moral Home for the Aged Sick at 1 Jalan Bilal and had not been at work since developing symptoms.

All staff caring for the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home’s female residents had been placed on quarantine order since Tuesday, said the AIC. “With the new cases, the remaining staff have also been placed on quarantine order starting from today,” it added.

Separately, the AIC said it has also been in contact with the Moral Home for the Aged Sick, which has stepped up vigilance in monitoring the health of residents and staff. “So far, all its residents are well,” said the agency.

Public hospital doctor, nurse among new cases

Case 951: SGH clinical research coordinator

The 29-year-old Singaporean woman, who has no recent travel history to affected countries or regions, reported developing symptoms on Monday.

The clinical research coordinator tested positive for the virus the next day and is currently warded in an insolation room at the SGH.

Prior to hospital admission, she had gone to work on Monday but had not interacted with patients.

Case 952: SGH nurse

The 37-year-old Singaporean woman, who had been in the United Arab Emirates from 14 to 20 March, reported developing symptoms on Monday.

The nurse tested positive for the virus the next afternoon and is currently warded in an insolation room at the SGH. Prior to hospital admission, she had gone to work on Monday.

Case 978: NTFGH doctor

The 26-year-old Singaporean woman, who has no recent travel history to affected countries or regions, reported developing symptoms on Tuesday.

She tested positive for the virus the next morning. She is currently warded in an insolation room at NCID. The doctor had not gone to work since she developed symptoms.

245 discharged, more than 4,800 quarantined

As of Wednesday, five more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In total, 245 patients have fully recovered and been discharged.

Most of the remaining 461 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 24 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, up from 22.

291 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for the virus are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.

Three have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, with the latest fatality – a 70-year-old Singaporean man – succumbing to it on last Sunday.

The MOH also said that contact tracing is underway for 115 local transmissions with no links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions. According to the ministry, 523 cases are imported, of which 55 are visitors.

As of Wednesday noon, the MOH has identified 14,050 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 4,803 are currently quarantined, and 9,247 have completed their quarantine.

Last Wednesday in Parliament, Health Minister and COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Gan Kim Yong said cases will continue to rise, as some of around 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home.

All Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from overseas apart from Hubei province must serve the 14-day stay-home notice, while those returning from Hubei must serve a 14-day quarantine. All short-term visitors are barred from entering or transiting via Singapore.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also the taskforce co-chair, had last Wednesday in Parliament described Singapore’s situation as being in a “critical phase” in its fight against the virus and noted the possibility for the introduction of more drastic measures as cases continue to rise.

These would include the suspension of schools and closure of some workplaces, aside from those providing essential services.

From this month, all primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges, and centralised institutes will conduct one day of home-based learning per week, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Stricter measures to cap social gatherings

Stricter measures were announced last Tuesday to combat community transmission of the virus, including capping social gatherings to 10 people or less as well as closing all entertainment venues – including bars, clubs and cinemas – from 11.59pm last Thursday till end-April, or longer.

Patients who flout their five-day medical leave can face steep penalties such as a fine of up to $10,000, according to the MOH’s latest updates to the Infectious Diseases Act.

Anyone who flouts the 14-day stay-home notice by leaving the place of accommodation or residence they are serving the notice in will also be subjected to such penalties.

Those on five-day sick leave or serving a stay-home notice must wear a mask if they have to leave their place of accommodation to seek emergency medical treatment.

The same penalties also apply to those who intentionally sit on a seat or stand in a queue less than one metre away from another person in public venues, from now till end-April.

The Singapore government would allocate over $48 billion to combat the “unprecedented” COVID-19 crisis, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Ministerial Statement in Parliament last Thursday.

The sum is on top of the $6.4 billion Unity Budget announced by Heng in February that was meant to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic.

To date, there are over 902,000 COVID-19 cases globally. Over 45,000 have died from the virus, with the death tolls in Spain and Italy accounting for over half of the figure.

At close to 200,000 cases, the US has risen to record the largest number of patients globally, followed by Italy at over 110,000 cases, Spain at over 102,000 and China at over 81,000.

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