'I'm worried about my grandson': Elderly patient in TTSH general ward who has Covid-19 symptoms now isolated

Madam Ong Kim Choo was wheeled to an isolation ward after she tested positive for Covid-19 on April 28, 2021. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ONG KIM CHOO
Patients in the ward did not wear masks but the doctors and nurses deployed there wore surgical masks. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A 72-year-old woman who developed symptoms associated with Covid-19 while staying in a general ward at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has been moved to an isolation ward.

Madam Ong Kim Choo's infection was detected on Wednesday (April 28). A nurse deployed at the ward was diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday, prompting the ward to be locked down and patients and staff tested. Three other people also tested positive.

Madam Ong was tested at around lunchtime. The result came back positive at 5pm and she was wheeled to an isolation ward about an hour later.

She was admitted to a C class ward at TTSH on April 20 for rheumatoid arthritis and felt her throat get tingly last Saturday.

She developed a cough and a fever the next day that went up to 38.5 deg C before going down to 37 plus deg C.

The sore throat was apparent on Tuesday and body aches began on Wednesday, the day she took the swab test.

Another swab test as well as a blood test have since been taken, she said.

The fan at the C class ward was on when she was in there. The windows were initially closed but Madam Ong later opened them.

Patients in the ward did not wear masks but the doctors and nurses deployed there wore surgical masks.

Apart from Madam Ong, two other patients and a doctor had tested positive for Covid-19 by Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said then that it did not include the four at the ward in Wednesday's case count because it was conducting further tests on them.

The MOH had noted that the nurse was a new community case and had received two doses of a vaccine. Although the vaccines used here have high efficacy rates, it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected.

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Tan Tock Seng Hospital has been on the front line since Covid-19 hit Singapore's shores.
Now, it is at the centre of an outbreak with 13 linked cases of Covid-19 and more expected to be confirmed.

Madam Ong has not been vaccinated.

She was scheduled to receive her first dose of Covid-19 Vaccine on Wednesday, the day she found out she had the disease.

She said contact tracers questioned her on Wednesday about her whereabouts and the people she had met.

Her husband, who had visited every day at the hospital, is quarantined at home. Her son and her seven-year-old grandson were quarantined at a hotel on Thursday.

Her daughter also checked into a different room at the hotel on the same day. A swab test she had taken for her own peace of mind was negative.

The Straits Times understands that some people linked to the hospital cluster had also checked into the hotel.

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Madam Ong sounded like she was in fairly good spirits when she spoke to ST on Thursday but said she has started to lose her sense of smell: "I had some meat and vegetables but could not smell if it was meat or vegetables that I was eating.

"I also used some Ru Yi oil, which has a strong smell, but I felt that it did not smell as strong as before... My chest feels a bit heavy today but I don't feel breathless. I only feel a bit breathless if I wear my mask."

Madam Ong said she is keeping her spirits up and will let the doctors and nurses, who are very caring and doing good work, take care of her.

"They told me not to move around as I have a risk of falls," she added.

"We should be careful, so as not to burden the doctors and nurses. If I fall, I will give them more trouble."

Madam Ong is also very concerned about her family: " I am worried about my grandson. I told them not to visit me. Now, their family life has been affected."

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