Coronavirus: New cluster at nursing home; 23rd fatality as male S'porean, 73, dies

Four of the new community cases were at the Orange Valley Nursing Home at 6 Simei Street 3. PHOTO: ORANGE VALLEY HEALTHCARE

A new Covid-19 cluster was identified at the Orange Valley Nursing Home branch in Simei after four of the home's residents tested positive for the coronavirus.

The four residents, aged between 72 and 97, were found to have the virus on Wednesday as part of the Ministry of Health's (MOH) enhanced testing of all nursing home patients and staff.

Staff of the nursing home - tested early this month and again after the cluster was discovered - have tested negative.

The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said yesterday that as of Wednesday, over 10,200 nursing home residents had been tested.

About 250 test results are pending, but all residents thus far have tested negative, except for the four Orange Valley residents.

The agency also noted that all staff of the nursing home had been tested early this month when MOH had set out to test all nursing home staff. The staff had all tested negative then.

After the four cases were found, the close contacts of the affected residents, as well as the staff who had tested negative earlier, were tested again. All these tests were also negative.

Staff who come into contact with residents have been staying at designated hotels since May 8. They have also taken the necessary precautions when commuting to and from work to minimise the risk of infection.

AIC said that the nursing home has complied with enhanced precautionary measures, such as not allowing visitors to the home, strictly adhering to split-zone requirements and ensuring safe distancing.

Orange Valley, meanwhile, said it has been proactively administering Covid-19 swab tests on all residents and staff since April 30. It also said it is in touch with the families of the four residents who tested positive and is offering support.

Orange Valley has also thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the ward and affected areas of the nursing home, and said it will continue with the increased cleaning frequency during this period.​

  • Update on cases

    NEW CASES: 448

    Imported: 0

    Work permit (WP) holders in dormitories: 434


    Singaporeans/PRs: 13

    Work passes: 0

    Visit passes: 0

    WP holders: 1


    Total: 29,812

    Community: 1,691

    WP holders in dorms: 27,541

    Imported: 580

    In ICU now: 10

    Deaths from Covid-19: 23

    Deaths from other causes: 9

The four cases were among the 448 new cases announced by MOH yesterday. Of the new cases, 14 are in the community.

MOH also announced the death of a 73-year-old Singaporean man due to Covid-19 complications.

He was confirmed to have the virus on April 17 and had a history of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and hypothyroidism.

An additional three cases were picked up from MOH's active surveillance of pre-school staff.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said yesterday that it is expecting some positive cases to be identified as all workers are being tested ahead of a planned reopening of pre-schools from June 2.

The agency has directed that a two-week leave of absence be issued to a small group of children and staff recently in contact with the confirmed cases in the pre-schools, which will also be closed for two days for thorough cleaning and disinfection. Close contacts of the patients will be quarantined by MOH.

About 10,400 pre-school staff have already tested negative since the testing began on Friday last week. Testing is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Also among the new community cases is a family cluster with four cases linked to it. They are household contacts of an earlier announced case, the Bishan MRT employee, and have been linked to the Cochrane Lodge II cluster, where one of the family members went to work.

The remaining new cases comprise 434 work permit holders living in dormitories.

A total of 910 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals and community facilities yesterday, bringing the total discharged to 12,108.

MOH also announced the closure of the Natureland East Coast, Wing Fong Court and 112 Neythal Road clusters as they have not had more cases linked to them for 28 days, or two incubation periods.

In all, 901 Covid-19 patients are still in hospital, with 10 in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Twenty-three patients have died from Covid-19 complications and nine who tested positive have died from other causes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: New cluster at nursing home; 23rd fatality as male S'porean, 73, dies. Subscribe