17 new COVID cases in Singapore, 5 linked to TTSH cluster

·Editorial Team
·8-min read
The exterior of Tan Tock Seng Hospital is pictured in Singapore on April 30, 2021, as authorities sought to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus after a cluster of cases were detected at the facility. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The exterior of Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore on 30 April, 2021. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (4 May) confirmed 17 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,252.

Of them, five are local cases in the community, all of whom were "detected from our proactive testing of patients, visitors and staff at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) or their close contacts, and had already been placed on quarantine", said the MOH. The remaining 12 are imported.

This brings the total number of cases linked to a fully-vaccinated nurse who works at the TTSH to 40, including one fatality. An 88-year-old patient who stayed at the hospital's Ward 9D died due to complications from COVID-19 on Saturday.

Tuesday marks the ninth consecutive day with local cases reported. Of the 17 new infections, 11 are asymptomatic, while six were symptomatic.

The number of new cases in the community has increased from 11 in the week before to 64 in the past week, the MOH said. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from four in the week before to 10 in the past week.

The ministry also added seven more public places – such as Newton Food Centre, Mustafa Centre, and Causeway Point – were recently visited by infectious community cases, with three of them visited by a number of cases in the TTSH cluster.

TTSH nurse cluster: 5 new cases, 40 in total

The 46-year-old Filipino nurse is deployed at Ward 9D, a general ward in the hospital, and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 27 April. The discovery of the nurse's infection had led to a lockdown of Ward 9D, and subsequently Wards 7D, 10B, and 9C.

Within the "Case 62541" cluster – named after the nurse's case number – nine of 40 cases had already been fully vaccinated.

"Because of vaccination, these cases are either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and none has required oxygen so far," said health minister Gan Kim Yong during a COVID-19 multi-ministry press conference on Tuesday.

The nurse was confirmed to be infected with the Indian variant of the virus on Tuesday, along with four others in the TTSH cluster: a fully-vaccinated doctor who attended to patients in Ward 9D, and three patients of the ward aged between 57 and 79.

  • Three Ward 9D visitors

The three cases had visited the TTSH Ward 9D between 18 and 28 April. One of them is a 53-year-old Singaporean woman who visited the ward on multiple occasions between 18 and 28 April.

She was contacted by the MOH on 29 April night to self-isolate, and placed on quarantine on 30 April.

The woman is asymptomatic, but was tested for COVID-19 on 2 May, and her result came back positive the next day.

Her serology test result is pending. She had received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 17 April.

The second visitor is a 45-year-old Filipino woman who visited the ward on 25 April. She was placed on quarantine at a dedicated facility on 30 April.

The woman developed a runny nose, sore throat, and fever on 2 May and reported her symptoms. She was tested for COVID-19 on the same day, and her result came back positive the next day. Her serology test result is pending.

The third visitor is a 39-year-old Indonesian woman who visited the ward on 21 and 22 April.

She was placed on quarantine at a dedicated facility on 30 April. The woman developed a sore throat and fever on 3 May and reported her symptoms, and was tested for COVID-19 on the same day. Her result came back positive but her serology test result is pending.

  • Fully-vaccinated TTSH pharmacist

The 25-year-old Singaporean man had interacted with patients and staff at Ward 9D on 20 April and was last at work on 28 April.

He received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 25 February and the second dose on 18 March.

The man developed a mild runny nose on 30 April, which resolved on the same day. On 1 May, the man was tested for COVID-19, and placed on quarantine in the early morning of 3 May.

His result came back positive on the same day. His serology test result is pending.

  • Ward 9D patient

The 64-year-old Singaporean man had been warded in TTSH Ward 9D on 26 April and was transferred to the NCID on 27 April. He was tested for COVID-19 on 28 April and 30 April and his results were negative.

On 2 May, the man developed a cough and fever and was tested again for COVID-19 the next day. His result came back positive on 4 May. His serology test result is pending.

Authorities are in the midst of testing all patients and visitors who had been at the hospital on or after 18 April, including discharged patients, and all 12,000 staff on campus.

Gan, who is the taskforce co-chair, said on Tuesday that the TTSH has completed testing of all inpatients and the results have all been negative, other than those whom we have already announced.

"Yesterday, we completed a second round of testing of these inpatients, and the results are pending. Some of them may be incubating and may become positive in the days ahead and we will continue to monitor them," he added.

Gan also noted that testing of the TTSH staff is in progress, with authorities having completed testing around 10,000 staff. "We will give an update as and when the results are out," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the TTSH said in a Facebook post that it will cease admitting new patients. Authorities also on the same day announced tightened measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, including capping social gatherings at five persons per group, as well as cutting down workplace capacity and attendance at public events from 8 to 30 May.

As of Monday, there are 504 cases – 29 local cases and 475 imported – of various strains in Singapore. Of the 29, 10 have been infected with the Indian variants, including five in the TTSH cluster.

12 imported cases, including 2 baby girls

Among the imported cases, one is a Singaporean, and two are permanent residents who returned from India.

Three others are dependant’s pass holders – including two baby girls, aged one and three – who arrived from the Maldives and Nepal.

Another is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Malaysia, while one case is a student’s pass holder who arrived from Japan.

Another case is a work pass holder who arrived from the Philippines.

The remaining three are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, of whom one is a foreign domestic worker.

All imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notice.

99% of total cases have recovered, 2 in ICU

With 17 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, 60,823 cases – or 99.3 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 131 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two cases – unlinked to the TTSH cluster – are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 267 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 31 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.

Among the 189 confirmed cases reported from 28 April to 4 May, 55 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 107 have tested negative, and 27 serology test results are pending.

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