SINGAPORE - All 1,100 inpatients and 4,500 staff working in the wards at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) will be swabbed by this weekend as part of a mass screening exercise to prevent further spread of the Covid-19 cluster there, the hospital's chief executive Eugene Soh said on Friday (April 30).
The cluster emerged following the diagnosis on Tuesday of a nurse who works in a general ward. Four other people from TTSH have been confirmed to have Covid-19, and a total of 13 at the hospital have been linked to the cluster.
The mass screening at TTSH started on Thursday. It will not allow visitors in its wards until further notice.
"All our inpatients will be swabbed by this evening and all 4,500 staff will complete their swabbing by this weekend," said Dr Soh. The staff include doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and housekeepers.
Speaking during a virtual press conference by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, Dr Soh said the hospital has identified close contacts of the positive cases. He said 61 patients, including the confirmed cases, have been transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
The hospital has also placed 76 staff who have been in close contact with them on leave of absence as they await quarantine orders. More staff will probably be placed on leave of absence and quarantine, said Dr Soh.
TTSH has locked down four wards and swabbed the patients and staff from these wards. "If we pick up new cases, we will lock down (further wards)," he said.
"In view of our manpower situation, we have worked closely with the (health) ministry to reduce non-urgent elective procedures and non-life-threatening accident and emergency attendances during this period."
Despite stopping all visitors to the hospital, TTSH will make exceptions for patients who are critically ill on a compassionate basis, Dr Soh added.
The hospital has stepped up surveillance and other measures, such as reinforcing infection control and hand hygiene.