COVID-19: Visitors not allowed at nursing homes until 30 April following new cluster

Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane (left) and Moral Home for the Aged Sick at 1 Jalan Bilal. (SCREENCAPS: Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — Visitors are not allowed at any nursing home in Singapore from Thursday (2 April) to 30 April, following the announcement of a new cluster linked to 11 cases at the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

Caregivers will instead be allowed to make telephone or video calls to residents, said the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) on Wednesday.

The agency added that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will review the situation closer to 30 April.

These and more precautionary measures that nursing homes must abide by were listed in a joint MOH-AIC advisory issued on Wednesday.

They include implementing split-zones for homes with more than 200 beds, safe distancing steps for all residents as well as reminding staff who are unwell to not turn up for work.

“The MOH and the AIC have also reiterated that nursing homes are to adhere strictly to advisories on COVID-19 precautionary measures,” said the AIC.

Both the ministry and the agency will continue to monitor the situation closely, as well as work with the homes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents and staff, it added.

11 cases linked to Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home

Of the 74 more cases announced on Wednesday, 10 – including a 102-year-old woman, the oldest patient here – linked to a previous patient announced the day before form a new cluster of 11 cases at the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

The first patient linked to the cluster is an 86-year-old resident at the home – located at 1 Thomson Lane – who is currently in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

Following the announcement on Tuesday, the home had worked with the MOH and the AIC to test all of its residents and symptomatic staff for COVID-19, said the agency.

Of the 10 new cases detected, 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.

The MOH and the AIC are working to provide (the home) with manpower support during this period to ensure service continuity so that its residents will not be affected.”

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.

To date, Singapore has 1,000 cases of the virus, of which 245 have fully recovered and been discharged. 24 are in the intensive care unit, while three have died.

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