Singapore hospital with cluster of COVID cases, one of them a Filipina nurse, stops patient admissions

Published May 5, 2021, 11:30 AM

by Noreen Jazul

A hospital in Singapore has stopped admitting patients on Tuesday (May 5) after several of its staff, including a Filipina nurse, tested positive for COVID-19.

(Tan Tock Seng Hospital / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a social media post, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) said it will temporarily “cease admissions” to focus on containing the clustering of cases in the hospital.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said there are 40 COVID-19 cases linked to TTSH as of May 4.

A report from Channel News Asia said TTSH is Singapore’s “first hospital COVID-19 cluster,” and currently the country’s “largest active COVID-19 cluster.”

So far, four of the hospital’s wards namely 7D, 9C, 9D, and 10B are on lockdown.

‘TTHS cluster: a timeline’

The clustering of cases in TTHS first surfaced on April 28 after the MOH reported that a 46-year-old Filipina nurse tested positive for COVID-19.

The Filipina nurse was deployed to the hospital’s Ward 9D.

According to the MOH, the Filipina, tagged as Case 62541, sought medical treatment at TTSH after developing a cough, sore throat, and body ache on April 27.

“Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day,” the MOH said in a press release on April 28.

The MOH said the nurse already completed her COVID-19 vaccination. She received her first dose on January 26, and her second on Feb 18.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing symptomatic disease for the vast majority of those vaccinated, but it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected,” the MOH said.

The hospital immediately locked down the ward where the Filipina nurse was assigned to after she tested positive.

After testing the ward’s patients, staff, and visitors, four more were detected to have COVID-19. The four new cases included a doctor and three patients.

On April 29, TTSH also locked down its Ward 7D and stopped allowing visitors except for “critically ill patients.”

The following day, April 30, TTSH stopped “all patient transfers to intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) facilities until swabs for patients and staff in lockdown wards are completed and cleared.”

Three more cases were reported in TTSH on May 1.

On May 2, the hospital announced that it already completed the swabbing of all its “inpatients in the main wards” on April 30 and all have tested negative.

The hospital also said it was able to test 7,000 out of its 12,000 staff on campus.

On May 3, ten new cases were detected in the hospital, bringing the total number of cases linked to TTHS to 35.

On May 4, the MOH reported five new cases linked to the TTSH cluster, and among them was a 45-year-old Filipina who visited Ward 9D on April 25.