26 new Covid-19 cases surface at MINDSville@Napiri home in Hougang

Testing has been done on all 255 residents and staff.
Testing has been done on all 255 residents and staff.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - The MINDSville @ Napiri cluster has grown to 27 cases after the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (June 2) announced four new cases, with 22 others having preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19.

The four new cases at the home for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities comprise a 30-year-old nursing aide and three residents between the ages of 47 and 64. All have been fully vaccinated and were symptomatic. 

The nursing aide and one of the residents were close contacts of the first case reported on Tuesday. They were quarantined the same day, said MOH.

The first case is a 37-year-old female resident who developed symptoms on May 29 and had a fever on May 30. She was taken to a polyclinic on Monday and her test returned positive the same day.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Social and Family Development said that upon confirmation of the results, the home immediately took additional measures to ensure the health and well-being of all residents and staff. All 255 residents and staff were tested as well.

The other cases were asymptomatic and were discovered through proactive testing. Those who presented with symptoms were promptly isolated, while awaiting their swab test results. 

MSF said the home has halted all admissions and discharges. It is not admitting visitors and has completed a thorough cleaning and disinfection of its premises.

These were on top of measures that had been put in place earlier, including organising residents into cohorts, splitting staff teams, and restricting resident cohorts and staff teams to pre-designated zones within the home, the ministry added.

All other residents, staff and other close contacts including clients, visitors and vendors, have been placed on quarantine, and will be regularly tested during quarantine. MSF said it is working closely with the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. 

MSF said 91 per cent of the home’s staff and residents were inoculated during vaccination exercises conducted in February and March. The home is managed by Minds under SG Enable (SGE) and funded by MSF. 

Since the start of the phase two (heightened alert) on May 16, the home has further reduced the number of pre-registered visitors of clients allowed onto the premises from four to two. Staff who care for those in isolation rooms are geared in full personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The six-storey complex in Hougang, which serves 112 residents, comprises a home and hostel for adults with intellectual disabilities, a children’s wing, and a training and development centre. 

Residents of the home are aged six and above. 

Among the five unlinked cases announced on Wednesday by MOH, one if them is a fully vaccinated healthcare assistant at Grace Lodge, a nursing home for destitute, elderly women. 

The 22 year-old female Myanmar national was asymptomatic and was detected when she was tested on May 31 as part of the surveillance testing of nursing home staff.

In late April last year, a cluster emerged in Acacia Home - a welfare home in Admiralty for the destitute - with a total of 15 cases comprising residents and employees. The first nursing home to report Covid-19 infections was the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home in Thomson Lane on April 1.

During the circuit breaker period last year, all homes serving the elderly, which include adult disability homes, nursing homes and welfare homes, underwent mass testing for all residents and staff. This was done to detect infections in the homes early, and ringfence clusters.

At the same time, all staff who interact with residents had to live apart from their families in hotels or at accommodation facilities in their workplaces to reduce the chances of them contracting the virus and bringing it back home.