2 wards in IMH to be closed to visitors after 2 staff, 4 patients test positive for Covid-19

The Covid-19 cluster at IMH comprises six cases in two adjoining wards.
The Covid-19 cluster at IMH comprises six cases in two adjoining wards.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - A new cluster that emerged at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) on Monday (Aug 30) comprises six cases in two adjoining wards made up of a staff nurse, a health attendant and four patients.

The staff nurse, who works in both wards, was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Saturday (Aug 28). The rest of the five cases were detected through surveillance on Saturday and Sunday.

Both the staff members and one of the four patients are fully vaccinated while the remaining three patients are not vaccinated.

The two affected wards have been closed, with visits, admissions and discharges suspended until further notice.

Surveillance screening of all staff and patients in the two wards is ongoing, said IMH.

As a precautionary measure, IMH has also started conducting one-off surveillance testing on all staff that will be completed by Friday (Sep 2). It will also progressively test all inpatients.

As the cluster is confined to the two wards so far, operations in other parts of the hospital are unaffected.

Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore, IMH has stepped up surveillance and infection control measures for visitors, patients and staff, IMH said in a statement.

Measures for staff include wearing the right personal protection equipment at work and split-team or modular work arrangements when possible.

Staff have also been reminded not to come to work if they are unwell and to seek medical advice.

They are also to practise safe distancing and strict hand hygiene. Patient-facing staff also undergo rostered routine testing.

IMH said inpatients' temperatures are monitored twice a day and nurses look out for signs of any illness, particularly typical Covid-19 symptoms.

Patient education is also provided to help patients understand the coronavirus situation and the importance of personal hygiene and infection control.