Coronavirus pandemic

Infection at second nursing home heightens worries over seniors

A 77-year-old male resident at Vanguard Healthcare's Woodlands Care Home was reported to be infected with Covid-19 on Monday. Unlike residents-only nursing homes that stopped receiving visitors, the facility stayed open because it also houses a senio
A 77-year-old male resident at Vanguard Healthcare's Woodlands Care Home was reported to be infected with Covid-19 on Monday. Unlike residents-only nursing homes that stopped receiving visitors, the facility stayed open because it also houses a senior daycare centre, which has since closed.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Another nursing home in Singapore has been hit by Covid-19, raising fresh concerns about vulnerable seniors.

On Monday, a 77-year-old male resident of Vanguard Healthcare's Woodlands Care Home (WLCH) at 2 Woodlands Rise was reported to be infected with Covid-19.

The resident, known as Case 2,561, tested positive for the infection on Sunday afternoon, and is now in an isolation room at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. It is not clear how he was infected, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Like other nursing homes, WLCH had stopped receiving visitors from Apr 2. A separate standalone senior care centre on its premises which provides daycare, dementia daycare and rehabilitation services to senior citizens in the area remained open.

The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said the centre was allowed to remain open during the circuit-breaker period of enhanced social distancing measures to provide care for clients with no alternative arrangements.

With the confirmed case, the senior care centre has been closed and alternative arrangements have been made for its clients.

In a statement, AIC said it was working with MOH to support WLCH in managing the situation.

WLCH, which is run by the Government, has conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the resident's ward and affected areas of the home. It has 248 beds in the facility.

Contact tracing is ongoing and those who had close contact with the resident, including any WLCH staff, will be quarantined.

The Straits Times has reached out to AIC and MOH to find out if the rest of the seniors from the home and centre will be tested, isolated or quarantined.

AIC said it is working to provide WLCH with manpower support to ensure service continuity, so that residents of the home will not be affected.

Nursing homes have become hotbeds for Covid-19 infections in many parts of the world.

On Monday, Canada's public health office reported that close to half of the 735 deaths in the country so far are linked to long-term care facilities.

In the United States, 127 out of 163 elderly residents of a nursing home in the state of Virginia have tested positive for Covid-19, and 42 of those patients have died.

In Singapore, Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home was the first home to have a case of Covid-19 infection. It saw an outbreak following its first reported case on April 1, with 16 linked cases in all and two deaths, both 86-year-old female residents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2020, with the headline 'Infection at second nursing home heightens worries over seniors'. Subscribe