COVID-19: Singapore confirms 506 new cases including 1 preschool staff, total at 34,366

Residents getting free reusable face masks from a vending machine in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 506 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Saturday (30 May) noon, bringing the total to 34,366.

Of them, 501 are foreign workers living in dormitories, said the MOH. There are five cases in the community comprising a Singaporean, a permanent resident, a work pass holder and two work permit holders.

The permanent resident is a 45-year-old female who went to work as a non-teaching staff at My First Skool at 192 Lorong is 4 Toa Payoh after the onset of symptoms. “MOH will conduct a serological test to determine if this was a past or current infection,” the ministry said.

The Singaporean is a 48-year-old man listed as an unlinked case.

The other three are a 26-year-old male Indian national who was swabbed as he was due to start work on a plumbing project at a preschool (unlinked case), a 35-year-old male Philippine national (unlinked case), and a 36-year-old male Indian national who is a contact of three previously announced cases and part of a cluster at 564 A-4 Balestier Road.

The number of new cases in the community has fallen, from an average of seven cases per day in the week before, to an average of four per day in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has remained stable at an average of two per day in the past two weeks.

Of the new cases, 99 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are unlinked and pending contact tracing.

MOH has looked into the cases of three prisons inmates - listed as cases 8650, 11178 and 23195 - and one staff nurse from Singapore Prison Service’s medical service provider (case 11927) who had earlier tested positive for COVID-19. The inmates are at Changi Prison while the nurse is working there.

“We have established that they were not epidemiologically linked to one another, and did not constitute a cluster,” the MOH said.

Locations visited by cases in community

The MOH has been publishing a list of locations visited by cases in the community for over 30 minutes since Monday.

This list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-day basis or one incubation period, the ministry said.

As a precautionary measure, the MOH advised those who had been at these locations during the specified dates and timings to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their visit.

Public places in Singapore visited by COVID-19 cases from 17 May to 28 May. (TABLE: Ministry of Health)

They have also been urged by the ministry to visit the doctor if they develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of over 2,600 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge, Tuas View Dormitory and Jurong Penjuru Dormitory.

The four are among the 25 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas. Some 400,000 foreign workers live in dorms here in Singapore.

National Development Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce Lawrence Wong said at a 12 May media conference that some 20,000 infected foreign workers are expected to be discharged by the end of this month.

Over 19,600 discharged in total

With 1,096 more COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, a total of 20,727 cases here have fully recovered from the infection, said the MOH on Saturday.

Most of the 374 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while seven are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from eight a day earlier.

A total of 13,242 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 23 patients who have died from COVID-19 complicationsnine others who tested positive for the virus have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and two whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

“Only cases where the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death as due to COVID-19 infection will be added to the COVID-19 death count,” said the MOH in previous press releases, adding that the method of assessment is consistent with international practices for classifying deaths.

It had also noted that 86 male foreign workers aged 25 to 59 died due to heart disease in Singapore in 2018.

As of 25 May, the ministry has conducted 334,691 swab tests, of which 218,996 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 58,700 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 38,400 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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