Over half of 94 new COVID-19 cases from Sungei Tengah Lodge; Bkt Panjang Transport Hub cluster closed

A man wearing a protective face mask is seen at a new medical facility set up for testing migrant workers residing in dormitories for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Singapore May 10, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A man wearing a protective face mask is seen at a new medical facility set up for testing migrant workers residing in dormitories for the coronavirus disease in Singapore on 10 May, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 94 more COVID-19 cases as of Friday (28 August), bringing Singapore’s total to 56,666.

The ministry also announced the closure of the cluster at Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub as there have been no cases linked to it or the past two incubation periods, or 28 days.

Of them, four – all Singaporeans– are classified as cases in the community, while 10 – including three Singaporeans and four permanent residents – are imported cases.

Amongst the remaining 80 cases residing in dorms, 58 – over half of Friday’s daily tally – are from Sungei Tengah Lodge, who had all been placed on quarantine earlier, said the MOH.

Overall, 70 workers had been identified earlier as contacts of previous cases and were tested during quarantine to determine their status, while the remaining ten picked up through the rostered routine testing.

“Following the detection of cases at Sungei Tengah Lodge, we had placed about 4,500 workers on quarantine, and tested about 3,000 of them so far,” added the ministry. The dorm was reported as a cluster on 22 August.

The number of cases from the dorms is expected to continue to be high in the coming days as authorities complete testing of the remaining quarantined workers, it said.

Besides the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, or swabbing, the MOH also conducted serological tests to determine if some of the cases residing in dormitories are current or past infections.

The serological test results for eight cases have come back positive, which indicate likely past infections, the ministry said.

Overall, foreign workers residing at dorms make up 94.5 per cent – or 53,546 cases – of Singapore’s total COVID-19 tally.

Cases’ age range from six to 88 years old

Of the four Singaporean community cases, three – 56743, 56744 and 56746 – were identified as contacts of previously confirmed cases, and were tested during placed on quarantine earlier, said the MOH, adding that they were tested during their quarantine.

The remaining community case – 56740 – was detected under the enhanced community testing to test all individuals aged 13 and above who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection first presentation to a doctor, added the ministry.

Epidemiological investigations of the case are in progress, it said. All the identified close contacts of the case have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period.

“We will also conduct serological tests for her household contacts to determine if she could have been infected by them,” said the MOH.

Amongst the 10 imported cases, seven – 56694, 56695, 56696, 56697, 56704, 56745, and 56750 – are Singaporeans or PRs who returned to Singapore from India between 16 and 18 August.

Another two – 56685 and 56690 – are dependant’s pass and long-term pass holders who arrived from India on 12 and 16 August. Case 56685, a six-year-old girl, is the youngest, while 56694, an 88-year-old man, is the oldest of all cases announced on Friday.

These nine imported cases had been placed on the 14-day stay- home notice upon their arrival here and had been tested while serving their notice at dedicated facilities, said the MOH.

The remaining case – 56726 – is a short-term visit pass holder who was allowed entry into Singapore as she has been seeking medical treatment here.

The 58-year-old Indonesian woman was conveyed directly to the hospital upon her arrival here.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has remained stable at an average of two cases per day in the past two weeks.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also remained stable at an average of one case per day in the past two weeks. Of the new cases on Friday, only three per cent have no established links.

Over 55,300 cases discharged; no patient in ICU

With 198 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 55,337 cases – some 97.7 per cent of the tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 71 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while none is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 1,231 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.

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