16 Covid-19 cases among healthcare staff, patients between July 28 and Aug 3

A new cluster of three cases was reported at Changi General Hospital on Tuesday - three days after the ministry closed another cluster there that had 20 cases. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - A total of 16 coronavirus cases were found among staff and patients in Singapore's healthcare institutions between July 28 and Aug 3.

They were detected through rostered routine testing, and also picked up when infected staff members developed symptoms and saw a doctor, said Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Friday (Aug 6).

The Ministry of Health had announced a cluster of four cases at Yishun Community Hospital on Sunday. A new cluster of three cases was reported at Changi General Hospital on Tuesday - three days after the ministry closed another cluster there that had 20 cases.

Associate Professor Mak said on Friday at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 that all healthcare institutions' staff members had been wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

He added that there is no evidence that infected workers spread the virus to their patients.

The 11 patients who were diagnosed with Covid-19 had tested negative when they were first admitted.

However, some could have been incubating the infection, Prof Mak said.

"We cannot exclude the possibility that some of these patients have been exposed to infections either from other patients or from visitors," he added.

When such cases are detected, epidemiological investigations are carried out to determine who may have been exposed to the virus.

Such close contacts are quarantined and the wards they are in are locked down for at least two weeks, in order to prevent further transmission.

"This does have a significant impact on our bed capacity and the resources that we have dedicated to fighting Covid-19 cases," Prof Mak said.

This is why visits to hospital wards have been disallowed since Thursday until Aug 18.

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