Ng Teng Fong, Changi General Hospital take precautions after staff test positive for Covid-19

One staff member each at Changi General Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital tested positive for Covid-19 on May 10, 2021. ST PHOTOS: MATTHIAS CHONG, KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) have stepped up their defences and put out messages to assure the public after one staff member at each hospital tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday (May 10).

Both cases were announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday night.

The first staff member, case 63,073, is a 42-year-old Malaysian man who works as an operating theatre technician at NTFGH.

He returned to Singapore on Jan 10 after a trip to Malaysia, and served his stay-home notice until Jan 24, testing negative on Jan 23.

On April 14, he visited NTFGH's staff clinic immediately after developing flu-like symptoms, said the hospital. However, he tested negative again and was given three days of medical leave to rest.

But on April 21, he developed a cough. This time he did not seek medical treatment until almost three weeks later on May 10, after his cough worsened.

He was tested for Covid-19 at NTFGH's staff clinic and his result came back positive the same day. He was also tested for other common viruses which cause acute respiratory illness and was found positive for Rhinovirus.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday, JurongHealth Campus, which NTFGH is a part of, said the man is now warded in an isolation room in NTFGH.

The campus added that he was last at work on May 10 and is likely shedding minute fragments of the virus from a past infection, which is no longer transmissible nor infective to others.

In addition, he had no contact with any known clusters or staff from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which is currently Singapore's biggest active Covid-19 cluster.

NTFGH told The Straits Times on Thursday that results from a clinical assessment found that the man's current symptoms are caused by a Rhinovirus infection.

As an immediate precaution, however, all areas that he had been in, including operating theatres, were disinfected using Ultraviolet-C lamps. All the patients whom he had contact with were also swabbed and their results returned negative. His household contacts have also been swabbed and their results are pending.However, JurongHealth Campus added that as a precaution, his household contacts have been swabbed for the virus.

The hospital added that there has been no impact to its clinical services and scheduled operations are proceeding as per normal. It has also since reinforced the importance of infection control, vigilance in adhering to safety measures and taking personal responsibility to seek medical treatment and stay home if unwell.

"Our colleague is recovering well and we will continue to support him and his family. The safety of our patients and staff is paramount and we will do our utmost to care for them," it said.

The second staff member, case 63,061, is a 43-year-old Chinese woman who is employed by EM Services and worked as a housekeeper at CGH.

She lives in the same household as case 62971, who is part of the Changi Airport cluster.

As she had been identified as a close contact of case 62971, she was quarantined on May 8. She developed a cough the next day, and reported her symptoms to MOH.

She was tested for Covid-19 and her result came back positive on May 10. Preliminary findings show that she was infected with the B1617 variant of the virus.

CGH said on its Facebook page on Wednesday that the woman did not have direct interaction with patients, and had adhered to appropriate precautionary measures such as wearing personal protective equipment while performing housekeeping duties. She had also received both doses of the vaccine.

Contact tracing and ongoing surveillance swab tests are in progress and any affected areas have been thoroughly cleaned, said the hospital.

CGH added: "We remain on heightened vigilance to keep our patients, their family members and our staff safe. We will continue to provide our care and support to our patients and colleagues."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.